Creative thinking

New mom says co-workers donated her vacation time after she was denied maternity leave

Angela Hughes and her daughter, Bella. (YouTube / ABC News)

The U.S. is the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave, and some women are now getting creative in an attempt to help out their pregnant co-workers.

Angela Hughes, of Kansas City, Missouri, said she was put in a difficult position after she gave birth two months earlier than expected. She had been working in the registrar’s office of a private college for less than a year — a length of time that did not yet qualify her for paid maternity leave. So she began piling up her vacation time by refusing to take a single day off work during her pregnancy, hoping to allow herself as much paid time off as possible following the baby’s birth. Unfortunately, the time she accrued wasn’t nearly enough. But her boss, Hughes said, realized her plight and unexpectedly offered to help by donating 80 hours of her own paid time off through a policy in place at the college. As word spread, her co-workers also began chipping in. In the end, they helped provide Hughes with eight weeks of paid maternity leave — the vast majority of which came from such donations — in order to spend time with her daughter, Bella.

“It took a weight off my family’s shoulders,” Hughes recalled. “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,” she added. “I was very surprised because I had not been with the company very long. I was extremely appreciative and very humbled.”

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, only an estimated 35 percent of American women are offered paid maternity leave by their companies. For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at ABC News.

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