International adoption can be emotional, time-consuming and costly. Fortunately, many enlightened employers across the nation believe it’s important to financially support their employees in their efforts to grow their families through adoption. They also see value in providing an emotionally supportive climate that includes time off to promote bonding and attachment with their new child.
MLJ clients are receiving benefits from employers as diverse as Target Stores, Interactive Intelligence, and Aon Hewitt. The amount of the assistance and way in which the assistance is obtained are specific to each company. However, a common adoption benefit assistance plan is to offer $3,000 – $5,000 in post adoption assistance. The assistance is received after the adoption is complete by turning in the re-adoption documents.
Many employers offer adoption financial assistance to their employees because they know it pays back dividends in increased employee retention and productivity and an enhanced public image. Adoption assistance plans also allow the companies to maintain equity in benefits between employees growing their families through pregnancy and through adoption.
To find out if your company offers adoption benefits, ask your human resource department. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption sponsors the Adoption-Friendly Workplace
program, which encourages employers to offer adoption benefits and celebrates those who do. The website includes its annual list of the nation’s “100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces”
Disappointed that your employer doesn’t offer adoption assistance? Consider talking to your human resources department about starting an adoption benefits plan. The Dave Thomas website also includes a free toolkit
and technical assistance for companies wishing to propose or establish an adoption benefits policy.
Financial support is important but employees often have a greater appreciation for the support and encouragement that their employer provides. This support can include flexible time off policies since an adoption often requires time off for travel or adaptation after the new child comes home. MLJ clients, Frank and Andrea, brought their daughter home from Congo in 2011. Frank is a pharmacist at Target Stores. Andrea is effusive in praising Target, “They were phenomenal. As a pharmacist, he is very, very difficult to find coverage for. He needs to give a MINIMUM of 2 months notice for time off, so when he expressed concern on only having a two week (ish) notification time frame instead of the mandatory two months, his managers said ‘don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.’ And that’s what they did.”
Employers offer differing time off policies when employees are adopting. It can be paid or unpaid and the number of days can vary. The Family and Medical Leave Act
which was enacted in 1993 actually requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer both mothers and fathers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child. The law ensures that employees can return to their current jobs or an equivalent position, and it requires employers to continue the employee’s health benefits during the leave period.
Perhaps the most important policy an employer can have regarding adoption is to provide encouragement and support. Interactive Intelligence has many adoptive employees including MLJ client, Aaron. He and his wife, Mindy, brought home their daughter from Congo last December. Aaron says, “The company is extremely supportive of adoption, and there is a great culture of encouragement around it.”
MLJ Clients, Dale and Kristi are in the process of adopting. Kristi works for Aon Hewitt and is quick to praise the support she is receiving. “We have gotten a lot of support from my management team in terms of fundraisers and just general support. It means a lot to us because it helps us in growing our family and bring another child into our home.”
MLJ Adoptions salutes these employers for supporting their employees and their adoption plans. We congratulate their commitment to families and children and we celebrate that with their assistance more children are being placed in loving, permanent homes.
For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.