Our Issues

Recognizing All Families

Families are not one size fits all and our laws shouldn’t be either. Many families include unmarried partners, extended relatives, and close loved ones who may not share a biological or legal relationship. 

Unfortunately, our laws have allowed too many families to fall through the cracks. We need to ensure that everyone–no matter what their family looks like–can care for the ones they love without paying an impossible price at work. 

ABB is working around the country to raise awareness about the diversity of family structures, and to enact workplace laws and policies that cover a wide range of caregiving relationships

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Expanding Family Definitions in Paid Leave Laws

We are pushing to pass workplace laws that broadly define family to include extended relatives and other loved ones who may not be biologically or legally related to the worker. Together with our partners at Family Values @ Work, we have collaborated across social justice movements, and with local, state, and federal campaigns, to ensure that our laws and policies include families of all types.

In 2015, we gathered significant support for the White House’s model family definition in an Executive Order guaranteeing earned paid sick time to employees of federal contractors. We have also helped to pass a model, inclusive family definition in a dozen state and local paid sick time laws, covering approximately 20 million workers. In 2019, we reached another milestone when two states–Oregon and Connecticut–passed more extended paid family and medical leave insurance laws with our model family definition, and New Jersey expanded its current program to update its family definition as well. In 2020, Colorado became the fourth state to pass a paid family and medical leave law with our inclusive family definition. We look forward to building on these successes!

Learn more about our efforts to pass paid leave laws and policies that recognize all families.

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act and LGBT Families

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires certain employers to provide unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks for employees to care for a new child or seriously ill family member, to recover from their own serious health condition, or to deal with certain military family obligations. Unfortunately, 40% of all workers are not eligible for FMLA coverage, and the law’s definition of family is narrow. Despite this narrow definition, the FMLA’s recognition of same-sex couples and their children has improved in recent years.

Learn more about how the FMLA applies to LGBT workers and their families.


of households in the U.S. do not fit the “nuclear family” model of a married mom, dad, and their children

64 mil

Americans live in multi-generational family households, more than double the number who lived in such households in 1980


As of 2020, percentage of Americans ages 25 and older who have never married—an increase from 9% in 1960


of LGBTQ workers said that they have been called on by close friends or chosen family for health-related needs

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