Many people got a furry friend into their lives during the pandemic to pass the time, and working from home gave them the flexibility to do so. Since employees are now returning to their offices, taking care of their pets has become challenging. Some employers considered implementing pet-friendly office spaces to ease the issues, boost employee confidence, and make returning to the office less forbidding.
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What Employers Need To Know About Pet-Friendly Offices
One of the first issues that arise when permitting pets into the workplace is the absence of clarity regarding permission. Any employer considering the office as pet-friendly should make a written policy concerning the same and make sure that every employee knows about it. Problems related to employees bringing pets to the office should be mentioned in the policy.
Another issue that is easily overlooked is the type of animal permitted in the office. When we think of pet-friendly offices, we mostly think about dogs and cats coming with us to work. But there can be several other types of pets like guinea pigs, hamsters, snakes, birds, lizards, etc. Employers should mention in their policy what kind of animals are permitted in the workplace and ensure that the staff is aware of the limitations. Employers may also consider whether pets are allowed on certain days or at all times.
Human rights and employee comfort
Not everyone like animals. Employers must consider addressing an employee who does not like being near pets. Other than fear, some people do have allergies to certain animals. The employer must accommodate undue hardship if the employee’s objection to being around is established on their membership in a protected ground.
Health and safety issues
Every employer is responsible for taking steps regarding the workers’ health and safety. It means employers will be responsible for an animal allowed on site, causing health and safety risks to the employees. Health and safety risks can be in the form of the following.
- Bites and scratches
- Conflicts between animals
- Triggering allergies
- Sanitation issues
- Animals blocking exits or tripping hazards
If any employee is injured in the workplace due to a pet, the employer can report obligations and liabilities as they would in any other workplace injury case.