Whether you are new here or have been following Adoption & Beyond for a while, you know the adoption process can be lengthy and complicated.
We here at Adoption & Beyond believe the more you know, the smoother the process will be. This week, we answer a big question that could drastically affect your adoption. Is adoption covered in FMLA? The short answer is yes. However, paid leave isn’t as simple.
For starters, I would like to remind you that my job is to inspire and educate adopting families and I am not an attorney.
While I have over 25 years of experience in adoption this doesn’t mean I am able to give legal advice. So I encourage you to talk to your HR department or your adoption attorney if you have any questions regarding legal rights to FMLA.
As you may know, the Family and Medical Leave Act was implemented on a federal level to protect employees from being let go due to family planning or medical emergencies. The good news is adoption does qualify! The tricky news is that doesn’t mean your company participates in FMLA, as it only applies to companies with 50+ employees. If your company does participate in FMLA, then you definitely have job security! Unfortunately, participating doesn’t mean they are required to pay you during your leave.
While you are entitled to medical leave, compensation isn’t required.
Some companies may do paid leave for having a baby but won’t offer paid leave for adoption. This is unsettling to me as I would argue it is more important for adopting families to have adequate paid time off to bond with their adopted child. The most common argument for paid leave for biological birth versus adoption is its toll on the body and the time needed to recover. Often, the trauma the adopted child has from being separated from their biological mother is overlooked and not acknowledged.
Regardless of where you are in the adoption process, I encourage you to start having these conversations with your HR department and/or your adoption attorney.
Ask questions about their FMLA adoption policy to be as prepared as possible. If your company doesn’t offer paid leave for adoption, I encourage you to advocate for change. Sometimes a little education and understanding can go a long way, and policies change constantly.
If you haven’t already, take the first step and learn about adoption and all that comes along with it by taking the All About Adoption 101 course.