1. It’s her kid as well as the boss’s, due to a presumably inappropriate office liaison. At first it sounds like he is being generous in letting a random new-mother employee take as much time as she likes to care for the newborn. It seems slightly less generous when we realise he is the father. She make no suggestion he is providing financially in any way. (Perhaps he doesn’t even know it’s his kid?)

  2. The unexpected twist that it’s his kid is worthy of a chuckle, but I still don’t get the “then again” part. So if the kid wasn’t his, he’d give her a deadline to return to work? What difference does it make?

  3. Mark M: “Then again” meaning “It’s not as generous it might seem at first sight.” e.g. “My boss gave me a nice $500 bonus this year. Then again, the company did make $12 million off floobitron processing technique last year.”

    i.e. a good father would spend a lot of time taking care of the kid, providing financial support, etc. . . This guy is just letting her take some time off.

  4. My understanding is that maternity leave — for those who have it — applies for a defined period of time. So this lady’s boss would appear to be uncommonly generous. The payoff is that it’s the proverbial LEAST he could do.

    Old variant:
    “My boyfriend takes me to the most expensive places in town.”
    “How could he afford it?”
    “He borrows the money from me.”

  5. When I sent this in, I suggested two readings of the news that it’s his child. Besides the one explored here so far, there’s the less shocking but almost equally exploitative idea that it’s the boss’s child with his wife, and this unrelated office worker is functioning as a nanny, on her all-day coffee break.

  6. My first thought was similar to Mitch4 – it is his and his wife’s child and the woman – perhaps his “assistant” (as I understand that there are no more secretaries) has been wrangled into watching his child for him. He told her to take as much as time as she wants while out with the child.

  7. Mitch4, I think the .. er, matronly shape and implied age of the buggy-pusher helps promote that idea.

    Although I don’t know if this cartoonist just always draws women that way.

  8. I see it (and still do) as Mitch did. However other than the surprise she’s not the mom I’m entirely sure what the joke is. I’m not going to ask as I suspect that that is the joke.

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