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Family Leave Laws

State family leave laws covering same-sex couples govern whether an LGBT person can take leave from work to care for their same-sex spouse or partner.
United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • Law grants workers leave to care for a same-sex partner, even if couple is not legally recognized(8 states, 0 territories + D.C.)
  • Law grants workers leave to care for a same-sex partner, but only if couple is in a legally recognized relationship (5 states, 1 territory)
  • State lacks leave law (37 states, 4 territories)
  • State leave law includes pay during time off (8 states, 0 territories + D.C.)
Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project.  "Equality Maps: Family Leave Laws." http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/fmla_laws (date of access).

*Note: For Washington state and Washington D.C., family leave is currently permitted, but paid leave for spousal/partner care will not begin until January 1, 2020.

*Note: Some cities and counties (below) have passed local sick or family leave laws. These vary considerably in scope, coverage, and definitions. For more information on the specifics of these laws, visit A Better Balance.

Berkeley, CA
Emeryville, CA
Long Beach, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Oakland, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Chicago, IL
Cook County, IL
Montgomery County, MD
Minneapolis, MN
St. Paul, MN

Bloomfield, NJ
East Orange, NJ
Elizabeth, NJ
Irvington, NJ
Jersey City, NJ
Montclair, NJ
Morristown, NJ
Newark, NJ
Passaic, NJ
Paterson, NJ
Plainfield, NJ
Trenton, NJ

New York City, NY
Portland, OR
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Seatac, WA
Seattle, WA 
Spokane, WA
Tacoma, WA
Milwaukee, WI


Percent of Adult LGBT Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBT adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBT adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.

15%

15 % of LGBT population lives in states where workers can take leave to care for a same-sex partner, even if the couple is not legally recognized

23%

23 % of LGBT population lives in states where workers can take leave to care for a same-sex partner, but only if the couple is in a legally recognized relationship

62%

62 % of LGBT population lives in states lacking leave law

32%

32 % of LGBT population lives in states that provide pay during time off

State family leave laws govern whether a person can take leave from work to care for a child. Barriers to parental recognition for same-sex couples raising children often mean that one parent lacks legal ties to the child or children they are raising. Parents who are not legal parents may be denied this leave unless the state recognizes parents in loco parentis.
United States Map
  • Law grants workers leave to care for a child for whom the worker is parenting, even if the worker lacks a legal or biological relationship to the child(9 states, 1 territory + D.C.)
  • Law grants workers leave to care for a child only if the worker has a legal or biological relationship to the child (7 states, 1 territory)
  • State lacks leave law (34 states, 3 territories)
  • State leave law includes pay during time off (8 states, 1 territory + D.C.)
Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project.  "Equality Maps: Family Leave Laws." http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/fmla_laws (date of access).

Workers caring for children who are not their legal children can still take federal FMLA leave as the federal government does not require the person acting as a parent to be a legal parent to the child. Maryland's leave law does not explicitly define child; the Commissioner on Labor and Industry has proposed regulations that would adopt the federal Family Medical Leave Act rules and regulations. Washington has passed a paid leave law, but it is not yet funded.

*Leave available for parents upon the adoption of a child under the age of seven only

*Note: Some cities and counties (below) have passed local sick or family leave laws. These vary considerably in scope, coverage, and definitions. For more information on the specifics of these laws, visit A Better Balance.

Berkeley, CA
Emeryville, CA
Long Beach, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Oakland, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Chicago, IL
Cook County, IL
Montgomery County, MD
Minneapolis, MN
St. Paul, MN

Bloomfield, NJ
East Orange, NJ
Elizabeth, NJ
Irvington, NJ
Jersey City, NJ
Montclair, NJ
Morristown, NJ
Newark, NJ
Passaic, NJ
Paterson, NJ
Plainfield, NJ
Trenton, NJ

New York City, NY
Portland, OR
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Seatac, WA
Seattle, WA 
Spokane, WA
Tacoma, WA
Milwaukee, WI


Percent of Adult LGBT Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBT adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBT adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.

34%

34 % of LGBT population lives in states where workers can take leave to care for a child for whom the worker is parenting, even if the worker lacks a legal or biological relationship to the child

8%

8 % of LGBT population lives in states where workers can take leave to care for a child only if the worker has a legal or biological relationship to the child

58%

58 % of LGBT population lives in states lacking leave law

32%

32 % of LGBT population lives in states that provide pay during time off

Key
  • State has this law Leave law permits leave
  • Leave law includes pay during time off
  • State does not have this law Leave law does not permit leave
State State leave law permits leave for same-sex spouse or partner regardless of relationship status State leave law permits leave only for a legally recognized spouse/partner State leave law permits leave for a child, regardless of legal tie to worker State leave law permits workers leave for a child only if the worker has a legal or biological relationship to the child
  Citations Citations Citations Citations
Alabama
Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona
Arkansas
California State has this law State has this law
Colorado State has this law
Connecticut State has this law State has this law
Delaware
District of Columbia State has this law State has this law
Florida
Georgia
Guam State has this law State has this law
Hawaii State has this law State has this law
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky State has this law
Louisiana
Maine State has this law State has this law
Maryland State has this law
Massachusetts State has this law State has this law
Michigan
Minnesota State has this law
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey State has this law State has this law
New Mexico
New York State has this law State has this law
North Carolina
North Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon State has this law State has this law
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico State has this law
Rhode Island State has this law State has this law
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee State has this law
Texas
U.S. Virgin Islands
Utah
Vermont State has this law State has this law
Virginia
Washington State has this law State has this law
West Virginia
Wisconsin State has this law State has this law
Wyoming


Data current as of 11/21/2019
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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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