Pets In The Workplace

By Rebecca Batisto

Pets In The Workplace

February 20th was #LoveYourPetDay, one of a growing number of days where we celebrate our pets, including National Pet Day and Take Your Dog To Work Day. Over the past few decades, pets have become much more of a forerunner in the family, and that’s also recognized by companies looking to hire.

According to The Society for Human Resources Management, 7% of workforces in 2016 were pet-friendly, up from 4% in 2014. According to Time magazine, that number went up to 8% in 2018 and is continuing to rise.

Employers are finding that bringing a pet to work is now becoming a reason that new hires accept a job offered, which makes employers feel driven to add the benefit to their standard offerings. The comfort of having your pet with you all day can have a positive effect on mood and sometimes lead to a boost in productivity, but what are the risks? Who is liable for accidents or mishaps with pets in the workplace?

People working within the pet’s home.

“Dogs and cats have accounted for more than 1,900 claims since 2014 received by SAIF, Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company.”

Many of the insurance claims are a result of workers performing their job in the space where the pet lives, like home health employees receiving bites or scratches from the homeowner’s pet. Without workers’ compensation insurance, the homeowner, in this case, would be potentially liable for the medical costs and, perhaps, any loss of wages as a result of the mishap.

Pets within the office.

The benefits of allowing pets in the workplace are easy to recognize: better employee morale, hiring increases, and increased socialization between employees and teams. On the flip side, the downfalls are few, but those few are important!

By allowing pets in the workplace, employers are increasing their risks. There is an undeniable risk of a pet harming an employee, but there are other risks as well. For example, employees may file a claim if they find it hard to work in such close proximity to pets due to allergies. Putting policies in place can minimize these risks but will not entirely eliminate it.

If you are considering allowing employees to bring pets to the workplace, talk to your workers’ compensation advisor about the risks and whether they outweigh the benefits, and what steps to put in place before allowing your workplace to become a woofplace.

Normandy Insurance can help. If you need to review your workers’ compensation policy, or have questions about liabilities, contact us today: tel:+18666886442 or click through to our contact page: Contact Us

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