UKZN pet bereavement policy changes get a paws up

Staff will be allowed to take one day per annum to mourn the death of a registered furry family companion.

Residents and staff at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) have reacted positively to news of the change in the pet bereavement policy at the university. The policy which was recently introduced allows staff a day off to mourn a departed pet which was close to them, reports Northglen News.

“Members of staff are entitled to pet bereavement leave. Staff will be allowed to take one day per annum to mourn the death of a registered family companion pet.

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“The rationale was that for many staff, their pets were akin to close family members. The idea of giving staff a day off to take care of their pets in the event of bereavement resonated with the leadership of the university,” said UKZN spokesperson Normah Zondo.

She added this was one of many staff benefits that were factored into the new conditions of service to ensure that the university remained the employer of choice.

Lecturer at the university and local resident Kerry Frizelle also welcomed the news.

“I think it is a positive step. I think pet bereavement is not taken seriously and people tend to underestimate the bond between a pet and its owner. I recently lost my cat after 16 years of companionship and it was such a traumatic experience. I think it’s a gracious move from the university and that they recognise the emotional impact a pet’s death can have on an owner,” she said.

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