Please Stop Acting as if Maternity Leave is a Vacation

TIME

When Valerie Jarrett took to LinkedIn to announce that President Obama would sign a Presidential Memorandum giving federal employees at least six weeks of paid sick leave when a new child arrives, everybody thought the same thing: “Valerie Jarrett’s on LinkedIn?”

After people got past that, the general online response was even more juvenile, to wit: if people want to have kids, we, the taxpayers, shouldn’t have to pay for their time off.

Look, I know parents can be annoying, always acting as if some non-accomplishment— “he grew another hair!”—is the equivalent of inventing the next Uber.

But, quite apart from the fact that the future of the species depends and, barring some spooky cloning breakthroughs, will always depend on people making new people inside their bodies, the truth is that family leave is not a vacation.

Do not worry, child-free federal workers, that your parenting co-workers will be…

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