Japanese Firm Offers New Benefit for Pet Owners

January 7, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Japanese employer has decided to offer a special employee benefit for pet owners.

The monthly “family allowance” of 1,000 yen (about $9) isn’t without a message. For Tokyo-based Kyoritsu Seiyaku Corp. – a firm that makes medicines for animals – they are hoping to send a message that pets are life-long partners not disposable accessories, according to Reuters.

“Everyone has the right to own a pet, but they also have the obligation to raise the pet for its whole life,” the company said, according to the report.

The number of pets in Japan has grown with greater affluence and a falling birth rate and there are now more pet cats and dogs than children under age 15, but about 310,000 cats and dogs are put down annually. “In the future, it is our dream that this system will spread not just in the pet business but to other Japanese firms,” the company said in a statement.

One thing Kyoritsu Seiyaku is not yet ready to do – allow its employees to take paid leave to grieve when their pets pass away. “For now, we have introduced only the allowances, but we want to consider the condolence holiday system in future,” a company spokeswoman said, according to Reuters.