Maternity leave, or lack thereof, is somewhat of a living nightmare in the United States. Paid time off is not mandatory, and many companies get away with giving very little time off at all after the birth of a child. When compared with other wealthy countries, the United States pretty much comes in dead last in terms of policies that support women and families.

That fact became relevant in an argument among coworkers recently. When a pregnant woman wasn’t given maternity leave from her company, some coworkers decided to give up a couple of their own PTO (paid time off) days to help her out. But not everyone was on board with giving up their vacation time. One 24-year-old woman gave that request a big old “thanks but no thanks,” enraging her coworkers who shared their hard-earned vacation days.

She posted about the incident on Reddit’s “Am I the A**Hole?” forum, and the responses were pretty mixed.

 

She explained the situation, saying that she works for a telecom company that does not do much in the way of supporting women after they become mothers: “They don’t provide paid maternity leave but ‘fundraises’ whenever a pregnant women needs time off.”

Right away, the situation seems like a recipe for disaster.

She continued, explaining how much time off everyone is allotted. “We all get 2 weeks vacation 5 sick days and 3 PTO but my pregnant coworker used up some of it already,” she wrote. But the strange part is that giving up their own days wasn’t something that people seemed to decide on their own.

 

“So my boss asked everyone to donate,” she explained, and people actually obliged the request. Did they actually want to give up their days or were they just falling in line with the boss’s request? Who knows? But according to the poster, most people acted as though they were totally fine with losing their vacation time.

However, everyone definitely was not.

 

The poster explained that she had plans that would’ve made it incredibly difficult to give away her PTO. “I used up a week of vacation and PTO days already and I’m leaving in July to visit family and booked a full week (9 days if you count the weekends),” she wrote. It seems pretty understandable, but her refusal to help out her coworker, something that shouldn’t exactly fall on employees, had others frowning on her selfishness.

“My coworkers are pressuring me to give up my vacation days since they feel like I don’t need them being single w/o kids but I already bought my plane ticket,” she explained. She also said that it’s not like she’s particularly close with the expectant woman, either. “I also don’t really know the pregnant lady and don’t feel like my responsibility when my boss could just give her the days. WIBTA if I don’t ‘donate’ my vacation days?”

It really seems like it should fall on the boss of a company to make sure that there is adequate maternity leave for their staff. But in this case, the company’s boss actually put it on the coworkers to provide that time off. Overall, this seems like a terrible practice, but that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people feel stuck in jobs that don’t meet their needs — especially after they become parents.

So, should the poster have given up some of her time off, or is she totally in the right to retain all of her PTO for herself?

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