If you have a team of pet parents, operate in a pet-oriented industry, or want to make your benefits package more inclusive, a pet care stipend is one of the best employee benefits you can offer.
70% of American households own a pet. And practically all of us love animals.
They reduce stress levels, help us stay active, and make us happier people in general. These benefits translate to the workplace, where pets are linked to higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and better overall health.
A pet care stipend is a fantastic way to show your employees you value their lives outside of work. It's also a way to acknowledge that family is not limited to just human connections. This approach fosters a more inclusive and supportive work environment, catering to the varying needs of your workforce and promoting a sense of belonging for all employees, regardless of their family structure.
In this guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know about offering pet care stipends.
Here's what is covered in this guide:
Before we move on, let's define pet care stipends:
A pet care stipend is a fixed, company-funded amount employers to employees on an annual or monthly basis. This money can be used by the employee for any pet related expenses, from food and supplies to veterinary bills.
Like other perk stipends, pet care stipends can be a set amount or vary per employee, based on individual expenses and the type/number of pets they have. Many employers offer a combination of both, setting an upper limit on stipend disbursement and allowing employees to submit individual receipts for reimbursement.
You might also see pet care stipends referred to as:
Pet care stipends are fringe benefits, meaning you'll offer them in addition to salary and other company benefits like health insurance and vacation days. They're taxable, which is why it's best to offer them using perk stipend software.
The items you cover with your pet care stipend will depend on your company's policies, budget, and type of animals your employees own.
Common expenses include:
The beauty of offering a stipend is its flexibility. You set the amount, then your employees spend it on the expenses they need that month.
Companies offer pet benefits in two main ways: stipends and company-sponsored insurance plans.
An employer may offer a pet care stipend in one of three ways:
Example: Company A offers employees $100/month to cover the costs of pet ownership. If they want to adopt a new pet, the company will also reimburse up to 50% of the adoption fee.
A pet insurance employee benefit allows team members to enroll their pets in a company-sponsored health insurance plan. Employees pay a monthly fee for coverage, and the policy is administered directly through the employer's benefits program.
There are four parts to a pet insurance policy:
The key difference between pet care stipends and pet insurance is that with a stipend, employees can use the money however they want. With an insurance plan, coverage is limited to specific veterinary services inside of the policy's parameters.
It's also worth noting that, compared to stipends, the intricacies of pet insurance make it quite difficult. The average cost to insure adult dogs is between $28.06 and $48.46. They can easily cover their own policy with your stipend and still have some money left over!
Example: Company A offers employees pet health insurance through their benefits plan. They pay $25/month per pet, with a 90% reimbursement rate and up to $2,000 in annual coverage.
A pet stipend is certainly a unique employee benefit. Not many companies offer it, and those that do are usually in a related industry (e.g., a veterinary clinic, dog toy manufacturer, software company, or insurance provider).
Here's a look at some of our favorite petcare stipends and reimbursements:
Stipends are easy to offer, so some employers offer pet-specific ones just because they can! But there are more meaningful reasons to include a pet stipend in your benefits package.
If you already offer general perk stipends or a lifestyle spending account, you can offer these benefits even more easily. All you have to do is advertise the stipend as pet-friendly to get your team members excited.
If you work in a pet- or animal-related industry, you have to offer pet care stipends to compete. For other employers, it's a nice-to-have that will certainly attract more of the best candidates out there and help you stand out from other companies.
Follow these steps to offer them the right way:
According to the ASPCA, the average pet owner spends roughly $1,400 each year to care for their furry pal. Other data puts this figure a bit higher. A breakdown from Credit.com estimates annual pet care expenses to be anywhere from $773 to $1,848.
Here's a breakdown of the most common expenses and the amount employees spend on them:
Companies usually base their stipend on these figures. It's typical to offer monthly stipends between $50 and $100, but this amount can be adjusted depending on the type of pets and level of care needed.
Pro tip: Some pet owners have to deal with emergencies and higher care costs. Pet care stipends are meant to help them pay for regular expenses. If you're serious about supporting the well-being of your employees' pets, you might consider offering a pet insurance benefit as well.
Of course, it only makes sense to offer pet benefits to employees who own pets. But which employees are eligible?
Once you know who's eligible, establish a systematic approach to stipend disbursements and expense management. Compt automates this process, making it significantly easier and less error-prone.
With Compt's stipend platform, you can:
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For current employees, all you need to do is add the stipend amount to their budget. New employees have a similar and equally straightforward process.
Just make sure they know the basics:
Using Compt, you can process pet care reimbursements or program it to automatically send out the stipend amount each month. With our platform, you can also track employees' enrollment in the program and measure its success.
Below is a list of the most common types of stipends: