On Wednesday, Good Morning America published an article about a new trend in which people “donate” their vacation time to new mothers who don’t get paid maternity leave from their employers.
Writer Katie Kindelan spoke to two women whose coworkers donated their time off to them, as well one official who helped develop the time-off donation program in Nebraska.
Both women in the story said the “donated” time off was instrumental for them — they wouldn’t have been able to take the time off to spend with their families had it not been for the extra time.
“It really, really meant a lot to me… I was extremely appreciative and very humbled,” a tweet from GMA promoting the story said. “Donating vacation time to new moms is a trendy — and generous — co-worker baby shower gift.”
People online have mixed feelings about the tenor of the article. Some feel the tweet promoting the article trivialized the issue at hand.
The US is the only developed country that doesn’t have mandatory paid maternity leave on a federal level, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. According to a 2017 report from the research group World at Work, only 38 percent of US employers offer paid parental leave. A 2016 report from the Society for Human Resource Managers found that of those companies that offer paid parental leave, the average time is 14.5 weeks, or around three and a half months.
While many feel it’s kind of co-workers to “donate” their time off, they also want employers to provide adequate paid maternity leave.
For some, the article highlighted deeper issues around how the US values motherhood and women’s time.
Even Senator Bernie Sanders weighed in on the story.
Representatives for ABC declined to comment.
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