Never one to pass up the chance to find the upsides of things, then shine such a white-hot light on them that the downsides burn away into virtual nonexistence, Good Morning America reported yesterday on a “trendy” gift idea for a coworker’s baby shower: donating one’s own vacation time to expectant mothers.
The piece is filled with quotes from new parents gushing with gratitude at their coworkers’ generosity, when it should be dripping with bile at the employers and lawmakers who have crafted such a sorry state of affairs. The United States is the only industrialized country that doesn’t require employers to offer paid parental leave (as Good Morning America notes), a grievous (and business-hurting!) policy failure that makes these acts of inter-coworker generosity necessary in the first place. One justifiably outraged Twitter user put it pretty succinctly:
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"?
THIS IS ACTUALLY TERRIBLE
JUST GIVE PEOPLE DECENT PARENTAL LEAVE
AND DECENT VACATION TIME https://t.co/TrCERNU2Ol
— sam (@verysimple) July 19, 2018
Yet instead of doing the only sensible thing and mandating paid parental leave, some states, including the recent addition of Nebraska, are passing laws “allowing” childless employees to work more should they choose to do the more “generous” thing. This is no solution. All it does is shift the risks and liabilities of the modern economy onto the shoulders of workers, further insulating employers from responsibilities they’re already permitted to shirk.
Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans alike are shocked–shocked!–that a 28-year-old democratic socialist who campaigned explicitly on behalf of workers and the poor won an upset primary victory last month.