Employees at a zoo in Omaha, Nebraska are protesting their employer’s maternity leave policy. It started when “Minnie,” the zoo’s polar bear and feature attraction, gave birth to her son “Thor.”
Maternity leave for the zoo’s animals is 12 weeks, while maternity leave for employees is only 3 days. During Minnie’s 12-week leave she will be moved to a much larger enclosure where she will care for Thor. The temporary relocation will also give her a break from the daily grind of posing for photos.
Over the past two years, there have been four employees who have had new children. Each of them took the maximum maternity leave of three days.
The zoo’s employees are united in their opposition to, what they are referring to as, “Minnie’s 12-week vacation.” Several workers are now calling for a policy change, insisting that the number of maternity days for the animals should be equal to employees.
“I had a three-day stay in the hospital when I had my baby in January,” said Mary Thoreau, one of the zoo’s janitors. “I went straight from the hospital to work. And then I see Minnie get 12 weeks in this paradise? It’s outrageous.”
Others are in favor of the policy. PETA issued a statement on Thursday applauding the zoo’s charitable philosophy on animal paid leave. “This is how it should be,” said Ingrid Newkirk, president of the world’s largest animal rights organization. “Minnie devotes her entire life to the zoo, working 24 hours a day. Why shouldn’t she get a few months off to take care of her baby?”
TrollWire has reached out to zoo officials, and they have refused to comment.