Study: LGBT Workers Caught in Gap Between Work, Family
When a child is born to or adopted by an LGBT worker (or workers), one thing’s for sure: It’s damn hard to get time off.
So says a new study brief from the Movement Advancement Project, the Center for American Progress and by the Human Rights Campaign (in partnership with A Better Balance, Family Values at Work and the National Partnership for Women & Families). It’s called An Impossible Choice: LGBT Workers and Family Leave Laws.
"From time to time, workers may need extended leave due to the birth or adoption of a child, a serious illness or injury, or to provide care for a family member with a serious health condition," the brief reads. "The US is one of the few developed nations lacking mandatory paid parental, sick, or family leave for workers. Currently, federal law provides limited, unpaid job-protected leave for eligible employees."
But time needs to be taken. And when LGBT workers and their families have to make a choice, what should they do? Staying at work means not being there for the kids (to heal and nurture, to love and to upbring). Staying home means losing the job, looking for another, thousands of dollars down the drain.
"When taking leave due to medical or family needs, far too many LGBT workers risk losing their jobs and jeopardizing their financial security at a critical juncture in their lives," said Jared Make, senior staff attorney at A Better Balance. "But the alternative-not taking time off during a personal illness, a child’s birth or adoption, or a family member’s serious illness-could mean getting sicker or not being there for loved ones who need them. No one should ever be put in that position."
But people are very much put into that position. There are about 5.4 million LGBT workers in the U.S. They’re racially and ethnically diverse and they live all over the country. And MAP’s previous research shows that 37 percent of LGBT people have had a child at some point.
"LGBT workers should have the same access to job-protected leave as their coworkers," said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. "Federal and state leave laws should be expanded to give all workers, including LGBT workers, the opportunity to take paid leave to care for themselves or their loved ones. Asking LGBT workers to make an impossible choice between losing a job and taking care of themselves or their families is unfair and harmful to families."
So what needs to be done? Here are some possible solutions straight from the brief:
Recognize the Families of All LGBT Americans