Baby Brand’s Maternity Leave Policy Generates a PR Crisis

( – When a company professes to be “woman-owned,” it’s not unreasonable to expect that they are sympathetic to the plights of women. However, one such business is now under fire for the way it treated a worker who adopted an infant who was born prematurely. While the baby is fighting for its life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the mother, an employee of Kyte Baby, is now out of a job. The resulting media storm has created quite a PR crisis for the company, and it’s showcasing major problems women face when they have children.

Marissa Hughes worked for Kyte Baby as a photo studio employee. She and her husband had gone through years of struggles trying to conceive and start a family, but met with much heartache—including three miscarriages—along the way. They decided to take another approach: adoption.

Shortly after Christmas, the Hughes family got a call from an adoption agency about a premature baby born at just 22 weeks gestation. The infant, a boy, weighed just one pound and has a long fight ahead in the NICU.

Hughes, who had been working for Kyte Baby for seven months, asked if she could work remotely, to stay close to the baby. The company denied her request, saying the policy is an employee who has been working between six and 12 months would be eligible for two weeks maternity leave, but they have to sign a contract committing to six months of employment after paid leave ends. CEO Ying Liu said she was the one who denied the request.

Hughes was upset following the denial. Her story went viral on TikTok and the company immediately faced backlash, including from women who said they were no longer going to support the company. Some even posted videos of them tossing Kyte Baby clothes out to the tune of *NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.”

Liu issued two apologies, one of which she acknowledged was scripted and insincere. She then did an about-face and said the company would not only grant Hughes remote employment but also pay her benefits. Hughes declined. A GoFundMe account started by the former employee has raised over $94,000 at the time of writing.

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