Future & Family: LGBT Employees & Parental Leave- How Can Employers Support and Celebrate Major Life Moments

There are so many ways to start a family and no matter how you choose to do it you should be protected and allotted equal rights for parental leave. Today’s blog post will focus on how we can support the LGBT community on their journey to starting a family while maintaining their careers.  The LGBT community faces challenges when it comes to addressing the topic of maternity or paternity leave. There is not yet an official right when it comes to parental leave for same-sex couples, employers must create and include same-sex couples into current and future HR policies regarding parental leave.

Research conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles found that  male same-sex couples in particular were either “forgotten” or indirectly had their rights affected due to “gender-restrictive” language. Elizabeth Wong, the leader of the study concluded that due to the “gender-restrictive” language which eluded to the assumption that “primary caregivers are women” and every family is comprised of one mother and one father.  This is of course problematic, as many same-sex male couples also want children and the primary caregiver is a man. In addition to excluding same-sex male couples , it undermines that value of a fathers involvement in family life. It is essential that companies switch to gender inclusive language when drafting policies, to encourage male employees to ask and take paternity /parental leave. It also can create a more accepting atmosphere for males in heterosexual relationships as well to take leave. We discussed in the last blog post about the hurdles of society and stigma that discourage men from taking parental and paternity leave.

As more and more nations legalize gay marriage, more and more couples are able to not only celebrate their love but also begin to think about sharing their love with a child. Just like heterosexual couples, many LGBT couples look towards methods like In vitro fertilization, surrogacy, adoption or one partner might carry the baby to term. One thing we need to take into consideration, is no matter how your family is formed, employees need time to bond and adjust to the new family dynamic.  In this article we will focus on alternative methods of contraception and exclude “natural birth”.


When creating or updating policies surrounding paternity/maternity and parental leave, companies should keep in mind the different methods of starting a family. This is important because based on the contraception method, different reasons for leave need to be considered.


Employee should be allotted the right to take leave to attend minimum two antenatal appointments with the surrogate mother. After the birth of the child, the employee should be entitled to either paternity or maternity leave. In same-sex couples, just with heterosexual couples, the option of a “Shared” parental leave should be available.


Employee should be allotted the right to take leave for fertility treatments and the possibility of “flexi” working schedules during the actual treatment period as it is mentally & physically draining for both partners, regardless of gender. Based on the company’s existing policies, the employer should decide if this would be paid leave, semi-paid leave or unpaid leave.  Once the employee has been successfully impregnated, the maternity leave policy shall apply. However, as this treatment is very invasive, employers must be considerate if the treatment is not a success. This also includes providing leave to allow the employee to recover both physically and emotionally.

Adoption leave:

Employee should be allotted the right to take leave for certain procedures surrounding the adoption such as house visitation, meetings with adoption agency, legal appointment and of course the same number of weeks of maternity or paternity leave given to “birth” mothers or fathers.

There is much work to be done with regards to granting same-sex couples equal rights in the in workplace when it comes to paid parental rights. This is an opportunity for employers to step up and show their LGBT employee’s that they are valued and support them on this big life decision.


Thanks for reading!





Traveler, Foodie and Hotelier. Working in the hospitality industry for 5 years in the Human Resource & Digital coporate space. My passion for people and my goal of this blog is to contribute positively and strategically to the hotel industry. The main focus of this blog will be family leave and the ROI hotel companies will /can experience by prioritzing this in their organizations.

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One thought on “Future & Family: LGBT Employees & Parental Leave- How Can Employers Support and Celebrate Major Life Moments

  1. How did I miss this article? I love that you talk about LGBT families! It’s a topic that’s often overlooked. Even in countries that don’t yet have legalized marriage (such as Switzerland), there are already same-sex parents that have to fight their own fight individually with employers. Thank you for raising awareness about this topic!

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