The story is told by a 27-year-old female who has no kids and has worked at her company for five years. She has currently saved up 44 days of paid time off. The woman's coworker is a 41-year-old mother of three who has worked for the same company for 17 years. Each employee gets 18 days of PTO per year that can carry over, and unlimited sick days if proof is provided. OK, let's get into the deets...
The mother regularly takes off a day or two every month or so. And this year, she used 10 PTO days in January when her brother died, and four more when her daughter got sick. So she only has four more days to use for the rest of the year. Now her kids want to go on a two-week vacation out of the country, and four days isn't enough.
So the mother asked her childless 27-year-old coworker to gift her with six of the 44 vacation days she has saved up over the years. "Her justification is that I’m childless and don’t need that many days," she said in the thread. "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. 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 two 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."
The 27-year-old now wants to know if she's the asshole for not giving her days to the mom.
The consensus among Reddit users is that the 27-year-old is NOT the asshole:
"I’m not a fan of entitled parents who think that just because you don’t have children, you are somehow less worthy and lay a guilt trip. Like, lady, they're your kids, and their dreams are for you to sort, not everybody else’s."
"Your coworker is just awful for feeling entitled to YOUR days because she chose to be a mother. Nothing makes me angrier than a mother like that. Your life matters as much as hers. YOU are as important as she is."
Some proposed that she sell the PTO days to her coworker:
"Those days off are part of your paycheck. If she wants them, you'll be more than happy to SELL her some at, let's say, half your normal hourly wage (or what your hourly rate would be if you divided a yearly salary up into 40-hour-per-week sections)?"
"If you're willing, you could offer to 'sell' them to her. But you have no obligation whatsoever to part with PTO days YOU earned. And she's awful for trying to make you feel guilty about it."
And others felt like the problem could be solved if the company had a better sick leave/bereavement policy. There were also people who questioned the mom's honesty about what she used her PTO for, since she could have taken sick days when her daughter was ill:
"It's unfortunate that your work doesn't extend its sick leave policy to include bereavement for immediate family. That is where this should really be fixed."
"She should have used sick time for the earlier events. It is not on you that she didn't manage her time more wisely and you did; this is YOUR vacation time, and you are entitled to use it how you choose! You deserve a vacation too, not just people with children."
"The OP has commented that sick days can be used for a child with a doctor's note; that seems fair."
A good number of people thought the ability to give away vacation days is absurd to begin with:
"It's a really messed-up policy to allow coworkers to peer-pressure each other into gifting straight-up vacation. My job allows donations of sick leave, but vacation is not giftable."
"Can someone explain to me why people can give others their vacation days? That makes no sense to me."
However, there were people who shared their experiences with giftable PTO and even appreciated the ability to do so under certain circumstances:
"I have kids and donated some of my time to a coworker whose husband was dealing with cancer so she could stay home with him.
"When my daughter got sick, just before my wife was scheduled for surgery, she was able to use some time off that was donated to her.
"See the pattern here? The donated time is out of the goodness of people's hearts in emergency situations. A two-week vacation isn't an emergency."
In the end, some truly nice coworkers and the original poster ended up gifting the mom with one vacation day each so she could get two full weeks off with her kids.
But we want to hear BuzzFeed readers' opinions. What are your thoughts on this particular situation, and how do you feel about gift-giving PTO? Would you give a coworker your hard-earned days — and should this woman have gifted her days? Let us know in the comments!!!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.