Twenty years ago, on February 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, allowing eligible employees to take time off to care for new children (biological or adopted) or family members with medical problems. The FMLA even allows employees to take time for a new child even if you are not the legal parent—but does not cover same-sex spouses or partners.  The Family Equality Council is therefore collecting stories, good and bad, about how LGBT people have used—or been denied—FMLA. They want yours! Here’s how to submit your story.

Help Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act!

Join us on Tuesday, February 5th to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Since 1993, women and men across the United States have used the FMLA more than 100 million times to care for themselves and their loved ones without risking their jobs.

In 2010, the Department of Labor expanded FMLA leave to allow parents to take leave to care for children with whom they might not share a legal or biological relationship. For these parents standing in loco parentis, the expansion was a great step towards making FMLA more inclusive for LGBT people and our families.

Unfortunately, workers still can’t take FMLA to care for their same-sex partners, and advocates are working hard to change that.

As you can see, we have a lot to celebrate and more work to do and that’s why we’re asking for your help! Please share your FMLA story with us.

Were you able to take unpaid leave to care for a new born or newly adopted child? Were you able to take time off to care for your child, even if you couldn’t adopt him or her? Were you denied the ability to care for your partner when he or she needed it the most?

Here’s what we hope to accomplish. We want to demonstrate the importance of this benefit to our families, help educate each other on how to make the best use of FMLA, and use our stories to move the ball forward towards more inclusive protections for our families.

If you’ve accessed or been denied access to FMLA, we want to hear about it! 

Even if it were inclusive of same-sex spouses/partners, I believe, FMLA does not go far enough to protect families. Paid family and medical leave is sadly lacking in our country, as MomsRising and others have long argued. Nevertheless, it is an important first step and a critical protection that should be extended equally to all families, no matter our genders.