Alan McCormack | Senior Associate

Dog days are over?

A Court in Italy has recently granted an employee at a University in Rome the right to paid sick pay to look after her unwell dog.

La Sapenzia University’s policies contain a clause (or should that be claws!) that employees are given an allowance for paid absences relating to “serious or family personal reasons” and the employee in question argued that this policy should apply to her to allow her to tend to her pet following surgery.

The judge in this matter agreed that the employee should have paid leave and that animals should qualify as family members.

The consequences of this judgment will likely not extend to other European jurisdictions as Italian Law contains a provision that pet owners who allow their pet to be subject to “grave suffering” can be fined up to £9,000 and sent to prison for up to one year. That said it is the case that in this country whilst time off for family reasons and/or emergencies does not extend to pets, most employers tend to be sympathetic to these issues and allow limited time off to attend veterinary appointments.

Employers may wish to have something contained in their policies in relation to pets and legal advice should be sought in this regard. If you require advice in this area please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.

Alan McCormack

Alan McCormack

Employment Law Team

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