Colombian Workers Could Get Paid Leave After Pet Deaths If New Bill Passes

Many people, myself included, consider our pets to be family. They play such a special part in our lives and their dedication, companionship, and love are irreplaceable.

When they pass, it’s only natural to take time and mourn the unique role they’ve played in our lives.

Thanks to liberal representative Alejandro Carlos Chacón in Colombia’s House of Representatives, a bill to enshrine that as a worker’s right may soon pass in the South American country.

PHOTO: PEXELS / DOMINIKA ROSECLAY

The bill, which must pass several steps and gain support to become a law, would grant workers two paid days of sick leave after the death of a family pet, as well as establish requirements for reporting and disclosing that information to employers.

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The bill’s text, according to El Tiempo, explains that as a law, the measure “aims 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 is a companion and domestic animal as a requirement to access the benefit.”

PHOTO: PEXELS / BLUE BIRD

Wild or exotic animals are not covered under the bill, only domesticated pets. The measure would extend not just extend to full-time employees, but to employees of any kind.

Representative Chacón told El Tiempo that the measure was built on continually emerging social and scientific understanding. “It has been shown that society not only has a family relationship between humans, but also that there is a degree of multispecies familiarity. There are people who, for example, do not have children but they do have their pet,” a bond that deserves some level of respect.

PHOTO: PEXELS / SAM LION

Colombia has been ranked, as recently as 2018, among the world’s worst countries for labor rights. The International Trade Union Confederation found that labor organizers and trade unionists in the country have been murdered for speaking out or attempting to unionize their workplaces.

While the newly proposed bill does little to address many of the big-picture concerns for workers’ rights in Colombia, it is still a step toward granting greater legal protections for workers and recognizing the importance of the bonds that they make in their day-to-day lives.

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