Gay Fathers Receive Less Parental Leave Than Straight, Lesbian Couples

Gay fathers receive less parental leave from work than heterosexual and lesbian couples, leaving many struggling to pay the household bills, a new UCLA study revealed.

Researchers at the university examined paternity laws in 33 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that offer paid leave to new parents. In their study, they learned that gay male couples receive the same number of weeks off as heterosexual couples in only 12 percent of those nations. Meanwhile, lesbian couples ended up in slightly better shape as research concluded that they receive equal time off in just under 60 percent of those countries.

While same-sex male couples had five fewer months of paid leave compared to heterosexual couples, same-sex female couples received three fewer months than opposite-sex couples. Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, and Sweden were the only countries that offered equal paid leave to all couples. That range can be as short as 18 weeks and as long as 70 weeks.

"A lot of the differences in leave stem from gender stereotypes where women are the primary caregivers," Elizabeth Wong, the lead author of the Journal of Social Policy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "That not only affects heterosexual couples, it greatly disadvantages same-sex male couples."

Photo: Getty Images

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