Colombia has introduced new legislation that will allow workers two days’ paid leave after the death of their pet. The law recognizes the “sentimental bond” between humans and animals and acknowledges that losing a pet can cause a “considerable emotional impact” on their humans. The measure is being led by politician Alejandro Carlos Chacon, a member of the Colombian Liberal Party, and many people are grateful for its introduction.
People’s bonds with their domestic pets are significant. As pers, the news site El Tiempo, Chacon acknowledges that the relationship between humans and animals is profound. “Some people do not have children but they do have a much-loved pet with which they develop a deep brotherly bond.”
Allowing workers to process their grief is paramount. Chacon went on to say that being given two days away from work to process their emotions would be a compassionate thing to do, explaining that workers could “overcome their grief and pain of losing these beloved animals without being preoccupied with their jobs.”
So many people would benefit from this. In Colombia, six out of 10 households own a pet, meaning the bill would be helpful for a lot of people in the country. The measure was filed before the general secretary of the House of Representatives this week.
Employers really should step up to encourage good emotional and mental health of their workers. El Tiempo quotes the bill as saying that its primary aim is to “establish the employer’s obligation to grant the worker paid mourning leave for the death of his domestic companion animal and the worker’s duty to inform the employer that within their family nucleus has a companion and domestic animal as a requirement to access the benefit.” The proposed law “arises from understanding the value of the sentimental bond between humans and domestic pets.”
There is a condition to the rule, of course. You can’t suddenly call in sick one day and claim a pet you’ve never discussed and that no one has ever seen before has passed away. You must have talked about the pet previously. “The worker must inform the employer at the beginning of the employment […] or no later than two days after the acquisition or adoption of the animal, that within their family nucleus there is a domestic companion animal,” the legislation reads. You may also be asked to provide “summary evidence” proving that the animal has passed away with “penalties” for anyone caught lying.
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