I'm looking for advice on when/how to tell my employer we're planning to adopt and I might need to take FMLA on very short notice.
I've been working (full time) at the company for a few years, but through some changes in my department, I recently was assigned to a different boss. She's very nice, but it's also a much different department than it used to be - there's a lot more competitiveness between employees, drive, working 60-70 hour weeks, etc. (And it's not a law firm!)
Unfortunately, I've recently had to take some time off unexpectedly due to a death in the family, and now I'm getting ready to take a 2-week vacation. (Which was originally planned for last October but had to be postponed 4 times due to projects at work being extended, and believe me, I need the 2-week sanity check.) Between that and the now competitive nature of our department, I'm afraid the news that I will hopefully also need FMLA time soon will be frowned upon and I will be penalized (in discrete ways, of course, since doing something outright could land them in hot water).
We may start to pursue a placement a few weeks after the vacation is over, and due to several past failed adoptions in which we had long matches and lost a lot of money, we're absolutely adamant about restricting our search to situations with an already-born baby or due dates within 7-10 days, so obviously there won't be a lot of advance notice.
We did our home study before I got the new boss, and she doesn't know about it. Given our history (9 years of infertility hell, a lot of miscarriages, the failed adoptions), I don't want to be constantly answering questions about where we're at in the adoption process, and I don't want to have to "untell" if something goes wrong, so I don't want to say anything more than I absolutely have to.
But at the same time, I do want to be fair and prepare them for the possibility, because I am the only person in the company who does my job (there used to be more of us, but due to layoffs now it's just me) and it was a challenge for them to cover for me when I was out unexpectedly due to the death.
So, how would you recommend I handle this? How did you handle it with your employer? Any words of wisdom are appreciated.
make inquiry through your HR Dept. they will set you up with the necessary paperwork. i had to do this (and then the situation didn't materialize). the thing is that you need to give your employer as much notice as you can. that does not mean that your entire department--or your boss--needs to be involved. i'd probably let your boss know when you have a match. don't be secretive, just be discreet.
not everyone will be happy, but they cannotlegally penalize you. they can be as unhappy as they want to be, but it's the same situation that typically expectant moms go through. and unfortunately, that isn't always positive on the work front either.
i work in a school. my HR folks didn't like that i was submitting paperwork with no date, but i didn't have one. my principal, on the other hand, was totally PO'd--as if he had some say! when the situation did not come about, they just file 13'd my papers and we went on. they just needed to know that it was coming so they could line up a long-term sub if needed.
good luck!
I was a high school teacher when my husband and I started the adoption process. I didn't tell a soul at school. We got the call about a baby born situation at 2pm the day before school was started. If we were chosen I would not be teaching that school year and I would be leaving that night. At that point I sat down and talked to my principal about the whole situation. He was amazing and just asked me to call him at home as soon as I knew something. We left at 11pm that night to get our son. The school staff and HR were very supportive...they actually took up donations for us at school because we had not prepared at all.
I think you give them information, when you have it. I wouldn't tell a boss that I was trying to get pregnant, but I would inform them that I need maternity leave when I knew for sure. I took the same approach with adoption. When we had a real situation that would affect my work environment, I let them know.
Good luck!
In your situation, I think I would wait a few months after your vacation to say anything to your boss (you will know her better by then) and then casually mention that you are planning to adopt and are waiting for a match. From what you are describing, I don't think you will make it any better by giving warning. Are you planning on taking a lot of time off?
In my situation, I was planning on telling them after my homestudy was done that we were adopting. I was the only employee doing my upper level management job and technically, they did not have to give me FMLA because I was a key employee. My CFO filled out the employer reccomendation form and didn't mention it to the company owner and we were matched with a baby born about 2 weeks later. Before I had mentioned it to the owner of the company. Luckily, I was in a meeting with him when I got the call and he is an adoptive dad of 4. He bawled right along with me. I ended up taking off 3 days and then coming back for a week to get things settled and then taking 10 more weeks of FMLA. I took intermittant leave and worked from home about 10 hours a week to keep my job afloat. So you might consider offering up something like that. Taking a couple of immediate days and then coming back for a week and then taking your real leave.
my agency sent something to my office and one of my employees accidentially opened it. :eek: The employee came to me and handed it to me and said he was sorry, he accidentially opened my mail.
So, I e-mailed my boss and said "I was going to wait until I was approved and knew when I'd need to plan my time, but since an employee accidentially opened my mail, I wanted to let you know now in case it got out so you'd hear directly from me".
That was 1 1/2 years ago and still not matched :hissy:
He probably is no longer worried about my time off :arrow:
I told my manager once I was officially waiting and asked that he not tell anyone due to the uncertainty of adoption. After my failed match last month he understands why it's critical that it be kept confidential. Sadly my being gone (prayerfully at some PT) will impact my coworkers as I plan to take 3-6 mos yet I don't feel obligated to tell the world. Thankfully my mgr agrees.
Mine was a baby born situation (not what we necessarily requested, but that was how it happened). I called my boss on Sunday night and told him I was having a baby on Monday and would explain on Tuesday.
Everyone was very supportive, and very surprised. I was fairly new to the job - not quite six months so I didn't have any FMLA time, but he let me take off what I felt I needed at the time.
I'm glad we did it that way. With all of the uncertainities involved in adoption it just wasn't something I wanted to talk about / worry about all of the time at work.
I told my main boss and HR once we were home study approved. However, before the adoption we gave up, I switched jobs. I am a teacher and I got a new job in a new district. I did not tell them because we decided we were done. 3 days before I was to start my new job I got the call....for a baby born.
I called my principal and he was awesome. Since DH works at home we decided that he would take the time off work and I would work 1/2 days for a while. ICPC took 17 days, so I missed a lot of work the first few weeks. Lucky for me my new job took me out of the traditional classroom, and was a new position for the school so none of my new co-workers were affected.
Adoption is unpredictable. If I were you I would go on my vacation, then wait for a little while to bring it up to your new boss. Hopefully the new boss will be understanding.
Our agency required our employers to be two of our references for our Home Study, so we both told our bosses very early on. However, we both work in very small offices, so there isn't really any "corporate policy" and we aren't eligible for FMLA. I had to negotiate maternity leave since it wasn't a given, but my boss has been great about it!
I will say that along the way, I didn't tell my boss about any potential matches, and when we got the call about our son, it was a Friday afternoon after I was off work and we drove to pick him up on Monday! I'm currently in week three of the twelve wk leave that my boss agreed to, and I'll probably pop in the office one day this week to clean up loose ends, lol. Baby M will go with me!
Thank you to everyone who replied. It's very helpful to be able to find out how others have handled the situation.
It sounds like very short notice is not uncommon and that overall most bosses have been pretty understanding. I'm hoping both of those things will prove true in our case as well.
Take care,
I understand TOTALLY!! I told my boss as well as most of the people that I work with that we were doing fertility treatments, which turned out to be HUGE mistake, I can't stand the look of pity from everyone. Anyways, we're looking to adopt soon (weren't even looking into adoption but approached by someone in the community) and I told my boss last week that it might be happening soon and that I would need to take FMLA. Our birth mother has had zero prenatal care, so there is no due date, and she keeps calling to ask me when I'll need to go on FMLA... as if I wouldnt love the chance to tell her!! Argh....
I would tell her, that you want to keep it private and that you've had past struggles with failed adoptions and hope she understands... GOOD LUCK!
But at the same time, I do want to be fair and prepare them for the possibility, because I am the only person in the company who does my job (there used to be more of us, but due to layoffs now it's just me) and it was a challenge for them to cover for me when I was out unexpectedly due to the death.
One of the best ways to get a manager on your side is to see the world through his or her eyes...and I think you've done that when you recognize that when you leave the whole team will be very stressed without you. If, when you share your adoption plans with your manager, you come with a plan for cross training others on the team, documenting what you do, and having everything in place for your leave, I really think it will make a difference in how your plans are received!
Good luck,
i'm a wierd one, and actually i consider my boss a great friend. we've worked together over 11 years and our entire department saw me through many multiple rounds of unsuccessful fertility treatments, IVF and now, our adoption journey. our team is pretty close and i'm the type of person that needs lots of support from those around me, so i've been fairly open about it, but only to my immediate team (about 8 gals) has also helped because of my role, there is nobody that can really fill in for me, so it helps my boss to try and get prepared if she has updates from me.
My agency wanted a work reference and so I told my immediate supervisor as we started the homestudy. I told close co-workers (i.e., those who would be most directly affected by my absence) as we neared the end of the homestudy. My husband changed companies as we did the homestudy and he did not tell his new boss until after we were approved.
I think the key to having it go smoothly is to come to your boss with a plan. Don't just say, "hey someday I will need a leave but don't know when and you will have to deal with it." Figure out a plan that will allow your team to be flexible should you leave with little notice. I am keeping an updated list of the status of my projects and tasks I do that people won't necessarily know about so that I can give it to my boss and my team won't be left with unanswered questions or big holes they don't know about. I am also being conscious of giving people under me leadership responsibiilty (good for their own professional growth anyway) so they can step in if need be.