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Do you ever wish you could stay at home and cuddle with your dog all day long? Well now, you can get paid to. 

The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world where federal law does not require paid maternity leave for new mothers. Meanwhile, multiple U.S. companies are expanding their maternity leave benefits into something profound, far past human children: “paw-ternity” leave.

As companies are identifying it, paw-ternity leave provides pet owners paid time off to adjust to their newest member of the family—a pet. At companies like mParticle, a Manhattan-based data platform provider, any employee who rescues a dog or an exotic pet (such as an iguana—who knew they were considered exotic?) is guaranteed two full weeks of paid paw-ternity leave.

Laurel Peppino, head of talent acquisition at mParticle recently told the Wall Street Journal, “We offer maternity and paternity leave, and a pet is just another member of the family. We don’t discriminate just because they aren’t human.”

Nina Hale, a Minneapolis marketing company, is following suit, offering employees the ability to work from home for at least a week to welcome their new furry friend.

In May, Connor McCarthy, senior account manager at Nina Hale, was in the process of adopting a golden-doodle puppy named Bentley. McCarthy, 26, told The New York Times that he’d read about the pitfalls of puppies adjusting to a new environment.

“It can be a stressful situation, going from its original home to a new home,” he said.

So he sent a request to his boss, asking permission to work from home for one week to help Bentley get accustomed to his new home. He received a response almost immediately: absolutely.

Very soon after, the company had devised a new policy: Any employee who adopts a new pet may work from home for the first week. The idea behind the policy is to allow for the best health of the pet along with the peace of mind of the new pet owner.

“The idea of offering benefits that just help keep employees at the office, that’s over,” said Allison McMenimen, vice president at Nina Hale who helped create this new policy.

She’s right. Companies today are doing their best just to keep up with their benefits packages, ranging from in-house gyms to gourmet meals in the cafeteria.

Did we mention we’re hiring? Before you ask, RELEVANT does not yet offer paw-ternity leave for employees, but we have a really cool coffee maker!

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