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Child-Free Woman Stirs Drama By Refusing To Give Her Paid Time Off To A Coworker With Kids

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The workplace, especially in the United States, is not always the most healthy environment.

Lack of time off and space to live one’s life are rife across American workplace culture, as you spend 1/3 of your entire day in the office and about half of your life in total at work.  It’s not unusual to want time off and feel jealous of the people who get more.

Reddit user ThrowawayAITA5391 found herself in the awkward position of having a coworker ask her to donate her paid time off to her and her family, reasoning our user didn’t have children and so didn’t need as much time off.

Unclear if she made the right decision in what she said to her co-worker, our user went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” so that strangers could give their objective opinions.

She asked:

“AITA for not giving my coworker my paid time off?”

Our original poster, or OP, filled us in on her work’s policy and her coworker’s information.

“My coworker (41F[emale]) has 3 kids and has worked at this company for 17 years. I (27F) am childless and have worked here 5 years.”

“We get 18 paid vacation days per year and unlimited sick days if we provide proof. The vacation days are added to your balance on January 1st and accumulate if you don’t use them.”

“We can give them to someone else.”

Her coworker has had to use a bunch of days off this year.

“My coworker regularly takes a day or two every month or so. This year, she used 10 of her days in January when her brother died and another 4 when her daughter got sick.”

“As a result, she only has 4 days for the rest of this year. I have been saving my days for a long vacation and have 44 days, so about 2 months worth saved up.”

“My coworker’s kids want her to take them on a two week vacation. The place they want to go is in our country but pretty far away so 4 days won’t be enough.”

And now her coworker is asking for her time.

“She wants me to give her 6 of my days. Her justification is that I’m childless and don’t need that many days.”

“We do get a lot of PTO. I really want to go on a trip around Europe after the pandemic. She says she needs a break more than me.”

But OP doesn’t want to give up what she’s entitled to so easily:

“She’s kind of right, maybe kids do make you extra tired. It’s not her fault she had to use 14 vacation days in the first 2 months of the year.”

“I told her that I can’t give her my days. She’s upset and says that it’s my fault her kids’ dreams are being crushed.”

“Am I the a**hole?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors agreed that OP did nothing wrong.

“In the US. We can take LWOP (Leave with out pay.) At a certain point (like if you are taking a whole pay period off) you are responsible for paying for your own medical for the portion.”

“Maternity leave. You get x weeks off for the birth depending on how you give birth. That is medical leave.”

“You get 6 weeks family bonding time and can take 6 more weeks but you are going to use PTO and if you don’t have enough, it’s LWOP.”

“NTA Op. I saved my time from when I got hired, knowing I was planning on have a kid and needed the time for maternity leave.”

“Also, always keep 2 weeks on hand, it is a nice severance if you are let go or if you have an unexpected shut down at work.”~chatondedanger

“You often have to be careful with taking leave without pay for too long. It can mess with your retirement and other benefits.”

“But that is irrelevant here. OP’s coworker doesn’t have the leave room take the vacation this year.”

“It’ll have to wait. It’s hard to save leave when you have kids. It’s the way it is. OP is NTA.”~inchworm907

“It’s uncommon but not ‘super weird’ for an employer to let employees give away vacation/sick days. My non-profit agency started doing going back 30 or more years ago — it seemed like kind of a ‘non-profit’ touchy-feely kind of thing to do back then.”

“We, and other agencies like mine, would give up a day or two of sick leave to someone having surgery or a major illness, and it was totally voluntary (ie a memo would go out about an anonymous employee in need) because if we donated a day, that was a day we wouldn’t be able to cash-in for pay when we quit.”

“As for OP, you are so NTA. As a single person myself, I am offended for OP that her co-worker even has the audacity to suggest she needs or deserves OP’s time off more than OP.”

“That’s a benefit OP earned, it belongs to OP and should feel not one twinge of guilt for using it however the heck OP wants.”

“Co-worker should have saved up more vacation days before promising kids a long vacation knowing deaths/sickness pop up unexpectedly.”

“Or co-worker can ask other co-workers and she what answer she gets. Just don’t feel a second of hesitation or guilt about saying ‘no’ to co-worker. It’s not your responsibility to pay for co-worker’s vacation plans.”~sailingisgreat

“This exactly. I’m a single mom of two teenagers and teach full-time (plus a part-time gig) and OP is NTA.”

“I chose to have kids. They are my responsibility. If we can’t go on vacation, for whatever reason, that is no one else’s problem.”

“No one owes me their time, days off, or anything else simply because they are childless and I chose to have children. What dumb logic.”~Ok-Mode-2038

After all, paid time off is given to individuals for a reason-workplaces shouldn’t be forcing their employees to compete for them.

“NTA. Damn she’s entitled. How does she even know how many days you have saved up? I’m a parent and I’m definitely tired but that’s the life I chose.”

“Doesn’t mean other people should compensate my choices bc ‘I deserve it more.'”~Lacroix24601

“I think NTA, but I’m also not convinced your coworker is the AH. Your workplace is the AH.”

“Sick leave should include family sick leave. Where I work in the states, I can use accrued sick leave for things like extending funeral leave, or taking care of family members.”

“I don’t have to be sick myself. Your company should let your coworker (and all of its workers) use their sick leave to care for sick family members.”

“And they should provide funeral leave, or at least count such leave as sick leave for the sake of mental health.”

“The workplace is also the AH for publicly posting how much leave each person has banked, because that creates the very culture you are dealing with now.”

“They are shifting the problem and logistics of running a business onto the employees, and that’s gross and wrong. If leave wasn’t displayed, she wouldn’t be asking you.”

“You are NTA. You don’t owe her anything. But she is the product of a culture your workplace has cultivated, so I would evaluate if you want to stay there long term.”~glass_hedgehog

“The unbelievable entitlement for someone to think you should give them your paid time off. It’s quite literally the equivalent of money.”

“She’s demanding 10 days of your salary. You can absolutely not feel bad and limit your communication with this person who is demonstrating some really out of whack social skills.”

“You didn’t ruin anything. You don’t owe her anything. No one deserves PTO more than another person, etc etc.”~dinosupremo

“NTA. I’ve seen this sort of scenario in the workplaces a number of times (along with shared experiences from others online).”

“You’re right, no she couldn’t help taking time off for the funeral and her daughter being sick, BUT, her life situation is not something to be burdened onto you.”

“The whole ‘I need the days off more than you because I have children’ is an awful guilt trip tactic – she chose to have children, she wasn’t forced.”

“She sounds like the type of parent who looks down on childfree folk and tries to ‘one up’ others on how so much more tired she is because she has kids, despite it not being a competition.”~RSelkirk1

And unfortunately, having children does not make you entitled to other people’s days off.

“There have always been these people at jobs I have seen. People who can never keep days off. When they earn one, they spend one.”

“Let this sink in. She has been here for 17 years, and she hasn’t been able to save any of her vacation days over time.”

“She uses each and every day each year. Not saving up. Not planning for a big vacation every x years. Not saving a handful for an emergency.”

“NTA. Big time NTA.”~bobthemundane

“I will say, life happens. I had a surgery not go as planned lost a year of sick time and two years of PTO all in one go before the short term insurance kicked in (company policy to use it first).”

“I also unfortunately have an autoimmune issue so I tend to use all my sick time and start dipping into PTO on occasion.”

“And I have a kid, so using time off for the little one happens. I’m not irresponsible, shit just happens and it is what it is. I don’t always get a vacation because of it, but whatever, I’m alive and my kid is taken care of.”

“Now, all that said, it would never occur to me to proposition a coworker for their banked PTO.”

“It’s f**king rude and my medical problems and child care responsibilities are no one’s but my own. Coworker is a grade a arsehole here and OP definitely NTA.”~oopsatwork

“NTA. Your vacation days are part of your remuneration package. She doesn’t get access to yours just because she used hers up on things that weren’t a fun vacation.”

“If I were you, I’d be pretty pissed she’s singled you out with the whole ‘its your fault’ thing – are you literally the only other employee in the company?”

“(Not that I think anyone has to donate their days, just trying to see her ‘logic’).”

“Also don’t feel guilty and think that you’ve got ‘enough’ to give some away – that is not a lot of holiday allowance compared to some people. I’m in the UK and my company gives 28 days a year.”~roonling

“NTA. The company should have provided bereavement pay of some sort. Does your company not offer that?”

“I find it odd considering how generous their sick and vacation policy is. I me If sick days are truly unlimited I find it odd that sick days don’t include children.”

“Every job Ive worked say that sick days are meant for when you or a family member is sick. Are you sure your coworker is even being honest?”

“No your coworker is NOT right. This belongs on r/entitledparents. You are entitled to your vacation days. Do NOT let her guilt you. Period. Its not your fault she had to use those days either.”

“Document this and report to HR for harassment and creating a toxic/uncomfortable work environment if this persists.”~FireInsideofMe

So while OP definitely sympathizes with her coworker’s situation, it is not an excuse for her to have to give up her paid days off.

After all, OP has her own plans and own life to live.

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.