Adoptive Leave

What does Adoptive Leave mean?

Adoptive leave is time off from work given to an employee who has adopted a child.

Although job-protected leave to care for the birth or adoption of children is viewed by many workers as crucial for families, the United States is one of the few high-income, global countries which does not provide a right to paid maternity leave for a parent who gives birth or adopts a child. Instead, employers have the benefit of deciding whether or not to provide adoptive leave to their employees.

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)

The United States does not provide mandatory paid time-off for employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. Under FMLA law, certain eligible employees can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid time to care for a child following an adoption. There are, however, very specific qualifications for FMLA.

To qualify for FMLA the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours in a year, they must have worked at least 12 months for their current employer, and they must currently work for a public agency or a private firm which has at least 50 workers within 75 miles. Currently, it is estimated that 59 percent of employees are covered by FMLA. Other benefits provided under FMLA include continued health insurance benefits (if generally provided by the employer) and the right to return to their current job or its equivalent.

Benefits of Adoptive Leave

Proponents of adoptive leave argue it is good for families who have adopted a child to have time to spend together to adjust to the new living arrangements. They also argue the adjustment for an adoptive family is just as difficult as it would be for a birth mother. Employers have argued, however, that the leave can be disruptive to the workforce as well as increase the cost of doing business.

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