Italian bus company employees donate paid leave days to colleague with sick child

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By Lillo Montalto Monella
Italian bus company employees donate paid leave days to colleague with sick child
Copyright  Flickr/Elliott Brown

Employees of a bus company in Italy donated their paid leave days to a colleague so he could spend more time with his disabled child, reported a local newspaper.

Maurizio is a public bus driver for Bergamo's bus company Atb. His 14-year-old son, Andrea, underwent a corrective back surgery in 2017 after which he was unable to perform everyday tasks like speak and eat on his own.

The bus driver had already used all of his legally-allotted paid leave days — up to two years to care for a sick relative in Italy— to assist Andrea before being forced to return to work in June.

That’s when his colleagues at work donated parts of their holiday time to Maurizio, who is legally allowed to accept and take the transferred time.

Thanks to the donated time, he has eight more months of paid leave to take care of his son. After that, Maurizio will be able to qualify for retirement in June next year.

“Where I go for my son's [physiotherapy] I've found a lot of people working for big companies who have similar problems,” Maurizio told Euronews. “I want to spread awareness and tell companies and employees that this can be done, even donating half-hour of paid leave/holidays can make a difference and be of help. I hope my story will encourage businesses and companies to let their employees do the same.”

Maurizio believes the best way to express his gratitude to his colleagues is to make the story public and spread awareness on this issue. 

The law that allows the transfer of holiday time between colleagues was introduced in 2015. 

A similar law in France allows annual leave donations between co-workers to take time off to care for a seriously ill child.

In February of 2018, workers of a German company donated nearly 3,300 hours in overtime to help a father take time off work to care for his ill son.

In the United States where there is no guaranteed paid maternity (or paternity) leave, people have started donating their paid leave days to new parents.