After going through the long process of adoption - from finding the right agency, to home visits, to bringing your child home - anyone would need a break. Parents looking to adopt may wonder whether they can take the equivalent of maternity or paternity leave from work. By understanding their rights provided by federal law, adoptive parents can better plan for adjustment and bonding time.
Unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires all public agencies, as well as private sector companies that employ 50 or more people, to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for parents welcoming a new child into their family.
The FMLA applies to adoptive parents in the same way as anyone else. An adoptive parent simply must work for a company covered by the Act and be eligible for these benefits. To be eligible, an employee must:
- Work for the company for at least 12 months
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before starting their leave
FMLA leave protects the employee's job while they are away, meaning they will return to their same position or an equivalent one at the end of their leave.
Check with your employer about paid leave
Some employers provide paid leave for parents. An employer's parental leave rules outline whether leave is paid or unpaid, and how long it lasts. If an employer fails to deliver the type of leave required by law, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney.
If you are thinking about adopting, review your leave options to ensure you get the bonding time you deserve.