Co-Workers Are Now Donating Their Vacation Days To Help New Moms—But Not Everybody Is On Board

Co-workers have found a thoughtful way to support new moms and enable them to have paid maternity leave by donating their own vacation time. Angela Hughes of Kansas City, Missouri, is one such mom. In a segment on Good Morning America, she talked about how co-workers, including her boss, rallied around her, donating enough of their own paid vacation time to allow her to have eight weeks paid maternity leave — almost all from donations. 

Hughes found out she was pregnant just two weeks after beginning the job. Despite saving every bit of vacation time for when she’d give birth, her daughter was born two months early and the time she’d banked wasn’t nearly enough. 

That’s when her boss and co-workers decided to rally around her, donating their paid vacation time in lieu of the standard baby shower gifts.

Hughes told Good Morning America:

It took a weight off of my family’s shoulder. Having a baby is a huge adjustment anyway but having a premature baby, my emotions were all over the place. It really, really meant a lot to me. I was very surprised because I had not been with the company very long. I was extremely appreciative and very humbled.

While her co-workers’ generosity was lovely, many people called out the underlying problem that made that generosity necessary.

People were angry at how the U.S. fails to treat workers fairly:

Aside from Papua New Guinea, the U.S. is the only country in the developed world without a paid family leave policy, according to Good Morning America. Anyone working in a company with 50 or more employees is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity — but it is unpaid. For most people earning a modest hourly wage, there’s no way to take time off because they cannot afford the lost pay.

Hughes is not alone in her story. Other new moms around the country have also found themselves in the same situation, and co-workers have helped by donating their vacation time. 

Some have even used crowdfunding to take time off.

Kerry Norbury was Hughes’ boss at the time. She donated 80 hours of her own vacation time. 

She told GMA: 

It was the right thing to do. And I had the time and I wanted to give her what I could. And if it made life a little bit simpler for her then why wouldn’t I do that?

Of course there are always a few bootstrapping naysayers:

This comment says it all:

H/T: BuzzFeed, Twitter, Good Morning America