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Austin company offers 'pawternity' leave and free pet adoptions to employees

Austin company offers 'pawternity' leave and free pet adoptions

Dog dogs Austin skyline
An insurance company says its first in country to offer pet adoptions as a benefit. Photo by Katie Friel

KVUE — An Austin-based company is giving its employees another benefit: covering pet adoption fees.

The Zebra announced Monday it is becoming the first employer in the U.S. to do this, covering up to $300 annually for employees wanting to add a fur baby to their family.

The Zebra is an insurance comparison site that compares more than 100 insurance companies, and its headquarters are based in Austin. In addition, employees will be able to use the company's paid time off policy to get acquainted with their new pet, which is sometimes referred to as "pawternity" leave.

“There was a time a while ago when I took my labrador, Zuma, with me on the train into my office daily. I know this kind of companionship can make a huge difference in the quality of life and mental health. Especially now that we’re all working remotely for the foreseeable future, I want to make sure that anyone at The Zebra who wants to, can experience that,” said Keith Melnick, the CEO of The Zebra.

Maribeliz Ortiz, an agency quality assurance coordinator at The Zebra, used the benefit to adopt Niko, a miniature long-haired dachshund. She said that was her "dream dog" since childhood.

“I’m not ready to have a child any time soon,” said the 27-year-old. “But it feels really nice to be supported by my company to help start a family in the way I can right now.” 

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To read the full story, head to KVUE.