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A Good Morning America article sent shock waves through Twitter yesterday after it revealed that a hot, new trend is donating personal vacation time to pregnant coworkers for their otherwise barely-existent maternity leave.
“It really, really meant a lot to me... I was extremely appreciative and very humbled.”— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 18, 2018
Donating vacation time to new moms is a trendy - and generous - co-worker baby shower gift: https://t.co/EeaQMNX425 pic.twitter.com/FWwyl6kPb6
The article told the story of Angela Hughes, an employee at a private university in Kansas City, Missouri, who was less than a year into her job when she gave birth two months early. Because she hadn’t been there long enough, Hughes was not allowed paid maternity leave, forcing her to work every day of her pregnancy so she could have vacation time after her daughter was born.
She was afforded eight weeks of paid maternity leave after her boss and coworkers donated their own paid time to the new mother.
Despite the seemingly heartwarming gesture, many Twitter users were not impressed.
“I’m all about supporting women, but this isn’t a feel-good story! It’s actually fucked up that workers give up their own benefits to make up for what employers aren’t providing because the US is the only industrialized nation without paid family leave,” Andrea González-Ramírez, a writer for Refinery29, wrote on Twitter.
How fucked up is our country that we now expect people to give up their already paltry vacation time to make up for our lack of decent maternity leave, and somehow paint it as "trendy"?— sam (@verysimple) July 19, 2018
THIS IS ACTUALLY TERRIBLE
JUST GIVE PEOPLE DECENT PARENTAL LEAVE
AND DECENT VACATION TIME https://t.co/TrCERNU2Ol
on what planet is bosses requiring workers to crowdfund leisure time among themselves when someone is in need a story of kindness and generosity— Amanda Mull (@amandamull) July 19, 2018
Individual employers and governments can choose to allow employees to donate their time off, but the policies vary widely. Only five states— California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, and Arkansas—currently offer paid family and medical leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
No it's not generous. It perpetuates corporate cruelty. All does is put the employer's responsibility onto the shoulders of workers who feel they need to band together to protect the health and wellbeing of their colleagues. Workers' rights are human rights. https://t.co/Q5EXzREHmr— Naheed Mustafa (@NaheedMustafa) July 19, 2018
So, props to the kind coworkers donating to their paid vacation time to new parents. But ultimately, they shouldn’t have to.
Kristina Nguyen is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot. She is studying journalism and American studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She has previously contributed to Orange magazine and Silk Club's QUIET! zine.