Ask Katie: How many pets is too many?
Q: We have a really generous employee discount for personal pets (50 percent off of services, and food and medications at cost). Several employees have taken on multiple pets since joining us. What’s the best way to address the “too many pets” issue?
A: We are an industry of compassionate pet lovers, and when being offered a nice discount, it seems as though we can afford more pets. The reality is that if those employees weren’t working at your clinic, they wouldn’t be able to afford all the animals they have. And frankly, it’s not a clinic’s responsibility to pay for its employees’ pets.
I recommend setting a limit on the number of pets that an employee can have “enrolled” in the discount program. Require employees to declare which pets they want to receive the discount for; services for all other pets are at regular price.
It’s important for me to point out as well that the IRS caps employee discounts at 20 percent. Any discounted amount in excess of that would be considered income for employees, and they could be taxed on that income. You may want to revamp your policy to include this change as well, just to keep the clinic and the employee out of hot water.