The Human Rights Campaign Foundation reports that LGBTQ people of color are less likely to get paid family and medical leave
When it comes to choosing between the people you love and the job you need, LGBTQ people of color face a tough decision.
This week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational branch of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, released a report highlighting the urgent need for employer-paid family and medical leave for the LGBTQ working people of color.
According to the 2018 United States LGBTQ Paid Leave Survey of more than 5,000 LGBTQ people, 71% of respondents of color say that they can’t afford to take unpaid leave, and 27% say they’re afraid to request time off to care for a loved one because it might disclose their LGBTQ identity, compared to just 16% of white respondents.
The group surveyed includes individuals who self-identified as American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Hispanic; Latinx or Spanish origin; Middle Eastern or North African; Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; or Non-White. Just 40% of non-white workers indicated that their employer has LGBTQ-inclusive leave policies, compared to 49% of white respondents.
The report also outlines that without paid leave, 67% of respondents of color fear that someday they will have to choose between their loved ones and their jobs. And work is often harder for them to find; with an estimated 1.8 million LGBTQ people of color in the American workforce, those who identify as such are more than twice as likely as white LGBTQ people to encounter hiring bias based on their LGBTQ identities. And unemployment and poverty rates are higher among LGBTQ people of color than non-LGBTQ and white LGBTQ people, according to the Movement Advancement Project.
LGBTQ people report facing additional barriers to requesting and taking leave for common life events such as starting a family through childbirth, surrogacy, adoption or foster care; caring for a loved one with a serious medical condition; and managing one’s own health. Additionally, 52% of respondents of color said they’re forced to rely on other friends or family members to care for their loved ones in times of need because their options for paid leave are limited.
Ashland Johnson, HRC Director of Public Education and Research said, “These experiences reflect the troubling workplace disparities that arise at the intersection of race, gender identity and sexual orientation — and then need to address these inequities as we pursue nationwide paid leave for all working people.”
Some employers are changing their policies to be more inclusive, however. At Starbucks, transgender partners have shared stories of unconditional acceptance and the company has made it clear that they support LGBTQ equality and care more about the LGBTQ community than making profits. Teen Vogue reported that during a 2013 company meeting, Howard Schultz responded to a shareholder’s concern about the company’s support of gay marriage by saying, “Feel free to sell your shares.”
Ben & Jerry’s has long been a supporter of the LGBTQ community and was Vermont’s first major employer to offer health insurance to same-sex couple in 1989. Today, they remain committed to their beliefs and have since renamed flavors to reflect their support.
And Apple’s openly gay CEO Tim Cook has taken to Twitter to share that the company is open for everyone. They have also publicly supported the Equality Act of 2015 and have issued statements declaring their support of the LGBTQ community.
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