Study Finds Lesbian Couples Get Less Parental Leave Than Straight Couples

Lesbian couples get three fewer months of paid parental leave, on average.

In countries all over the world, same-sex couples are being screwed over when it comes to paid parental leave, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles investigated laws in 33 countries that offer paid parental leave, all of which are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). They found that lesbian couples only received the same number of weeks off as hetero couples in just under 60% of those countries. On average, they got three fewer months of paid leave.

Gay male couples fared even worse — they received equitable time off in only 12% of countries, and they received an average of five fewer months of paid leave. Lead author Elizabeth Wong explained, “A lot of the differences in leave stem from gender stereotypes where women are the primary caregivers. That not only affects heterosexual couples, it greatly disadvantages same-sex male couples.” The study did not address trans and non-binary couples.

Most countries don’t prohibit queer couples from their parental leave policies. However, they don’t explicitly include them either. Instead, they only directly reference the needs of different-sex couples.

Only a few countries from the study offer the same paid leave to all couples, including lesbians and gay men: Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and Sweden. Duly noted!

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