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I'm having a hard time phrasing this properly to look it up, but I believe I'm correct about my usage. Example sentence:

Infants should stay at home, or go to daycare if their parents both work.

A grammar checking program is insisting the comma should not be there, but I don't think it's fully grasping the nature of the sentence. Clearly it's not a parallel phrasing, which would imply that infants possibly should stay at home if both parents work.

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    Grammar checking programs are for guidance only: they are not foolproof - and they were written by humans, who may also have differing views about what is right and wrong. Also there is not always a specific right & wrong way to phrase things. Your punctuation is fine. But, personally, I don't like the wording: it sounds as if the infants should take themselves to daycare, and make those decisions themselves! – TrevorD Jul 1 '16 at 22:58
  • That was just a quick example I threw together lol; it's not the actual sentence in question. – Joe M Jul 1 '16 at 23:11
  • My comments still stand! – TrevorD Jul 1 '16 at 23:16
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    Wars have been fought over that comma. – Hot Licks Jul 2 '16 at 3:04
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The correct usage of commas would be as follows:

Infants should stay at home or, if their parents both work, go to daycare.

These are bracketing commas.

The following resource still remains one of the best references on commas. I recommend reading it! It wins in simplicity and makes the rules easy to remember

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/informatics/punctuation/comma

Note how your original comma does not fit into any of these categories. If you want to use a comma before "or", both that before and after the "or" should be able to be stand alone as complete sentences:

Infants should stay at home, or they should go to daycare, if their parents both work.

Here the second bracketing comma is replaced by a full stop. This is fine.

Note that bracketing commas can be optional if the sentence is clear without them. Therefore, this is also correct:

Infants should stay at home, or they should go to daycare if their parents both work.

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I don't think the way you phrased it is wrong, though I did misinterpret your sentence at first because of it! I thought you meant "if the parents work, the infant should stay at home or go to daycare" (with a stray comma in between). Of course that's not completely logical in terms of the infant's wellbeing, and now I understand what you're saying.

I think you might be able to express the thought in a clearer, less ambiguous way, such as:

Infants should stay at home, but if both parents work, the infant should go to daycare.

or split it up with a semicolon:

Infants should stay at home; if both parents work, the infant should go to daycare.

Or elaborate a bit more:

It's best that parents care for their infant in the comfort of home, but if both parents work, the infant should go to a daycare center.

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    I would suggest you misinterpreted it despite the comma being in an appropriate place: not because of it. Your interpretation would require the absence of the comma after 'home', and optionally, the presence of a comma after 'daycare'. But I do agree that rewording would be better. – TrevorD Jul 2 '16 at 10:18

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