By Carin Mrotz
Seven years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, a colleague told me she didn’t think it was appropriate that I be allowed to use any of my accrued sick time during my upcoming leave. “Having children is a choice,” she told me, “NOT an illness.”
Our parental leave policy was vague. My organization is too small to be covered by the Family Medical Leave Act; our policy simply stated that employees were entitled to 12 weeks’ unpaid leave. It didn’t mention if or how an employee could use accrued sick or vacation time during leave, and in the 10 years since our founding, I became the first employee to have a child or even bring it up. It seemed open for interpretation, but I hated that the interpreting had to be done over what was taking place in my body. I didn’t want to argue, I wanted to disappear.