Bill would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide paid FMLA leave for families headed by lesbian and gay couples.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, hailed the re-introduction of the Family Leave Insurance Act yesterday in the 111th Congress. The bill, sponsored by Representative Pete Stark (D-CA), would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide paid leave for all workers to care for their families.
"All American workers need time off to care for themselves and their loved ones," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This bill will allow families headed by lesbian and gay couples to take the time they need to care for their families while maintaining their financial security. We thank Representative Stark and all of the congressional supporters of this legislation for their leadership on LGBT family issues."
Currently, millions of lesbian and gay Americans in committed, long-term relationships are unable to take FMLA leave to take leave to care for their same-sex partner. While some states and private employers have filled this gap in coverage by offering family medical leave for workers to care for a domestic partner, an expansion of the FMLA is needed in order to cover millions of unprotected American families.
The Family Leave Insurance Act of 2009 remedies this glaring inequality by providing essential benefits to employees seeking to take leave to care for a domestic partner and their children. The Act gives access not only to crucial FMLA leave benefits for families headed by lesbian and gay couples, but also ensures this leave will be paid.
"This Act values the American family in all of its diverse forms. Families headed by lesbian and gay couples suffer the same levels of stress, lack of productivity, distraction and fear of job loss as do others when their domestic partners become ill, and yet they are not guaranteed access to leave to care for them under the FMLA," added Solmonese. "It's time to ensure that all working families have the opportunity to provide care for their loved ones when it is needed most. We urge members from both sides of the aisle to co-sponsor and support this critical legislation."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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