Adoption Benefits Affected by The Family Medical Leave Act

New policies on paid leave and adoption benefits for parents are ever evolving.

Ashley Foster June 15, 2018
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The laws in America are changing all the time. That seems like a good thing when it comes to employee benefits. We are continuously seeing changes in the adoption benefits provided by employers. Such benefits used to be non-existent, but more and more companies are getting on board.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that guarantees certain employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid time away from work without the threat of job loss. The law is pretty specific. It applies to state, federal, and local employees, schools, and private employers that employed over 50 employees for over 20 work weeks during the current or previous year. To be eligible under FMLA, an employee must have had at least one year of service and at least 1,250 hours during that time.

Obviously, a large number of people don’t qualify for FMLA, and for the ones who do, the leave is unpaid, which is not ideal. Many companies are changing their benefits policies to support adoptive parents.

Walmart changed its benefits policy this year to include six weeks of paid parental leave and $5,000 in reimbursement for adoption-related expenses. The Upper Arlington Municipal Offices have added 14 paid days that can be earned for use before starting their FMLA time. The employees will now receive their full salaries during their time away.

Amazon allows six weeks paid leave for adoptive parents which can be shared with his or her spouse if the spouse does not get paid leave from their employer; Etsy gives its employees 26 weeks of paid leave regardless of gender or “primary caregiver” status; and Netflix employees get unlimited paid leave during the first year after birth or adoption.

If your employer doesn’t offer adoption benefits, contact your HR department and see if your company wants to be the next one to make a positive change.

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Ashley Foster

Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and mother of two currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees' rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life. You can read her blog at

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