Would You Crowdsource Maternity Leave?

It’s not uncommon for new parents to need help. But asking for financial help is hard.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Mar 2016
dad embracing newborn baby
Photo: Camille Tokerud

Maybe you don’t have maternity leave. Or maybe it’s unpaid. If you’re short on funds with a baby on the way, taking time off from work can be an incredibly daunting prospect. So should you take out a loan? Apply for another credit card? Some couples are opting not only for an interest-free plan, but a repayment-free one, by crowdsourcing maternity leave online.

Sites like GoFundMe, GiveForward and YouCaring are making it happen. Try searching for “maternity leave” on GoFundMe; you’ll get 1,280 results.

“Raising money from friends and family is the least financially expensive in a lot of ways, because they don’t have the same incentives to make money from you that an investor would,” Ethan Wollick, an assistant professor at the Wharton Business School, tells BuzzFeed News.

One expectant couple who took to GoFundMe for help? Shawn and Laura Lechette. They had two children and were on top of their finances when Laura found out she was pregnant again last June. But unexpected home repairs and the need for a new car led them to fall behind on their bills. Credit scores dropped and loan requests were denied. And thanks to her job’s new leave policy, Laura had only accrued eight hours of time off.

“We went to crowd-funding because it wouldn’t hurt our credit further or put us in an even worse spot if it wound up not working out,” Shawn tells BuzzFeed, adding it was a humbling experience. The couple was able to raise $1,500.

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