Cat-ernity benefits – getting them purring in NZ. Photo: Shutterstock

Thursday 30th June 2016

'Paw-ternity Leave'

More unlikely stories from around the HR globe

Puppy power

Every new parent will tell you how hard it is when you first bring a baby home: the lack of sleep, the endless crying, the constant chewing or scratching of furniture…

OK, the babies in this instance might have fur and four legs, but settling kittens and puppies into new homes can be a testing time for owners and pets alike.

Luckily for the employees of one New Zealand bank, they can now take paid ‘paw-ternity’ leave to look after a pet – whether they’re a new arrival or simply unwell.

According to the New Zealand Herald, ANZ has already granted pet leave to at least three employees. “Anyone can request flexibility for any reason, including ‘paw-ternity’ leave,” said spokesperson Sonia Bell.

“For our employees, flexibility is about supporting our people in delivering results in the most productive way possible, while balancing these commitments with personal priorities.

“Arrangements are agreed on an individual basis between an employee and their line manager.”

Who’s the daddy?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged – by anyone who has a child or has indeed been one – that dads are embarrassing.

Image: Certis Cisco
Image: Certis Cisco

So to showcase its credentials as family-friendly employer, a Singaporean security firm has made a tongue-in-cheek video demonstrating just five of the myriad ways in which paternal buffoonery can express itself.

The film, ostensibly a thank you to ‘all the Certis Cisco dads who have always been there for us’ but posted on the company’s Facebook recruitment page, stars several senior executives playing exaggerated dad ‘types’ with their own kids. They include:

  1. The ‘Very Good Planner’, who schedules back-to-back music, maths, English and science classes… for his tiny baby
  2. The ‘Athletic’ dad, who uses his babe-in-arms as a dumb-bell
  3. The ‘Competitive’ dads – arguing about which football clubs their children are enrolled in soon descends into “They can cook spaghetti” versus “My kids have longer hair”
  4. The ‘Personal Assistant’, who caters to their offspring’s every whim, and
  5. The ‘Storyteller’, who regales his patently uninterested son with tales of how life has improved since he was young (“You have so many toys to play with… in my time we could only play with bottle tops”)

To help the video reach the widest possible audience, the company is rewarding anyone who likes, comments on and shares it on social media with entry into a prize draw.

From paper-clip art to kitten-smuggling: top ways to waste time at work

It’s a rare employee who’s never done something they shouldn’t have during office hours, whether that’s checking their Facebook page or gassing with co-workers.

But the ingenuity of some American employees when it comes to time-wasting really would take some beating.

A recent CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,000 HR professionals and more than 3,000 workers across the US unsurprisingly cited mobile usage/texting as the top workplace productivity killer (named by 55 per cent of employers) closely followed by the internet (41 per cent) and gossiping (39 per cent).

But the survey also revealed more imaginative ways to while away a dull working day, as revealed by employers who had caught staff red-handed in the following acts:

  • Employee was working on a scrapbook
  • Employee was decorating their cubicle with a chain of paper-clips
  • Employee was embroidering items for sale at a craft fair
  • Employee was in the car park doing ‘doughnuts’ in the snow
  • Employee was working on their child’s school project using dry macaroni
  • Employee was looking for dates on craigslist

But the top prize for weird time-wasting undoubtedly goes to the woman who found a kitten outside, brought it in and tried to hide it in her handbag.

Her boss must have been incat-descent.







About the author

Rhianon Howells

The former editor of a leading trade magazine, Rhianon Howells has extensive experience of writing for both business and consumer titles, including The Guardian. In addition to writing about HR, she specialises in health, fitness, leisure and hospitality.