FAMILY Act

The FAMILY Act would help bridge the financial gap facing many working families following the birth or adoption of a child as well as personal or family illness requiring leave from work.

H.R. 804; S. 248

The Problem

Welcoming a new child, caring for a sick spouse or parent, or facing a serious illness can change—and strain—any family’s bottom line. Access to uniform paid leave is essential to closing the gaps created by these major life events and helping families stay healthy both physically and financially. Due to systemic discrimination including health disparities, LGBTQ+ people facing these changes often find themselves having to choose between the caregiving or recovery time they deserve and the paycheck they need.

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, many LGBTQ+ people are enduring one of the most challenging times of their life, and often without the support of paid leave benefits. According to a March 2020 economic analysis by HRC Foundation, 40% of LGBTQ+ people work in industries that are more likely to lack paid leave benefits and are more likely to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including 19% who work in restaurants, food service and retail.

In August 2020, HRC Foundation released a follow up analysis with new economic data from 7,000 adults in the U.S. The analysis found that 15% of LGBTQ+ adults and 29% of transgender adults had to take unpaid leave due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We know that LGBTQ+ workers facing a major life event are often left with leave policies that are under-inclusive at best. According to the 2018 U.S. LGBTQ Paid Leave survey, fewer than half of policies cover parents of all genders equally or are inclusive of the many ways that families welcome a child, including through childbirth, adoption, or foster care. Even for LGBTQ+ workers whose employers have a formal paid leave policy, one in five respondents to the 2018 survey reported that fears of discrimination could prevent them from requesting a leave if it would require disclosing their LGBTQ+ identity.

We know that LGBTQ+ workers facing a major life event are often left with leave policies that are under-inclusive at best. According to the 2018 U.S. LGBTQ Paid Leave survey, fewer than half of policies cover parents of all genders equally or are inclusive of the many ways that families welcome a child including through childbirth, adoption, or foster care. Even for LGBTQ+ workers whose employers have a formal paid leave policy, one in five respondents to the 2018 survey reported that fears of discrimination could prevent them from requesting a leave if it would require disclosing their LGBTQ+ identity.

What is the FAMILY Act?

The FAMILY Act would help bridge the financial gap facing many working families following the birth or adoption of a child as well as personal or family illness requiring leave from work. The FAMILY Act would provide workers with up to 12 weeks of financial support during a family or medical leave from work. This would cover time taken following the birth or adoption of a child including time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, as well as leave taken to care for a sick child, parent, spouse or domestic partner, recover from illness personally, or time taken for military caregiving and leave purposes.

What is the Current Status of the Bill?

The FAMILY Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on February 4, 2021.

For more information, please contact legislation@hrc.org. Read about other Federal Legislation pertinent to the LGBTQ+ community here.

Last Updated: March 22, 2021

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