For adoptive families, some employers provide adoption benefits that can be a huge help with the many adoption expenses that can come up. In fact, employerprovided adoption benefits are becoming more and more common— a huge change and improvement from as recently as twenty years ago, when very few employers saw this as a necessity.
Today, many people can find adoption benefits provided in their workplace, which gives them serious advantages when looking to expand their family through adoption. Whether financial, informational, or timecentered benefits, your employer may offer the adoption benefits you need.
Types of Adoption Benefits
Employerprovided adoption benefits can usually be sorted into three main categories: information, financial assistance, and parental leave. Each of these benefits can help out both parents looking to adopt and parents who have recently adopted and need help staying afloat in their new lifestyle. Whatever your specific needs are, you may be able to find the assistance necessary from your employer.
These resources refer to all information surrounding adoption that may be helpful to parents considering adoption.They include:
- Referrals: Your employer may have connections to certain adoption agencies, professionals, support groups, and organizations. These referrals may come as phone numbers, websites, email addresses, pamphlets, phone calls, or simply information on the differences between adoption options. If your employer provides this benefit, speak with them about moving forward to access the specific information you need.
- Aid: Some adoptions are a bit more unique than others, and your employer may be able to provide assistance with these special cases. In situations such as a special needs adoption, or even some international adoptions, your employer may have aid available (in various forms) to move the adoption process along.
- Access to a Specialist: For individuals who are considering adoption but are unsure of the actual process, speaking with a specialist could be lifesaving.
Some employers offer access to an adoption specialist so that their employees considering adoption can have a safe, informative place to go where all of their questions can be answered. Adoption specialists can be affiliated with an agency, or they may be an adoption attorney or other professional. If you have a preference about the type of specialist you’d like to speak with, let your employer know.
Perhaps the most needed and, in some cases, the most helpful employerprovided adoption benefit is financial assistance. The cost of adoption is rather high, and it’s likely costs will continue to rise as time goes on. There are, of course, loans and grants available to adoptive families, but they may not always be enough or easy to obtain. When this happens, financial benefits from the workplace can be incredibly useful. They come in many different forms, including:
- Lump Sums: Some employers offer their employees a lump sum payment for an adoption. Depending upon the organization, the amount can be anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000 and used to cover any adoption fees the family needs help with.
- Payment: Some employers offer payment for certain adoption fees. What these fees are and the amount paid are usually discussed between the employer and employee once the benefit is accepted. Typically, however, the fees covered are usually public or private agency fees, legal fees and court costs, and foreign adoption fees. They may also cover medical fees, foster care charges, Birth Mother support, counseling fees, and even travel and transportation costs.
- Partial Reimbursement: Some employers will also offer partial reimbursement to employees for their expenses. Usually, a reimbursement plan will cover up to 80% of certain expenses and are only paid up to a previously established ceiling (up to $4,000). For special needs adoptions, the reimbursement amount may be higher.
How your employer provides financial benefits may vary. Some pay per child adopted while others pay per adoption. They may also decide between paying as adoption expenses are incurred, or after the adoption has been finalized. Speak with your employer to iron out the finer details before you proceed.
The final type of employerprovided adoption benefit is granted parental leave time. In many cases, employers are actually required to grant new adoptive parents leave, just as they would birth parents. Federal law requires certain employers who have 50 or more workers to offer parents up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave upon birth or adoption of a child. During this time, the parents do not have to worry about job security or health benefits as these are guaranteed during the leave period. For more, go here.
Your employer may offer more than 12 weeks of unpaid leave by also adding on accumulated paid leave, vacation days, and sick leave. To find out more and to check the parental leave policies in your state, go
Whether you’re currently employed or are looking for an employer to provide adoption benefits, you can find out which organizations offer benefits (and what kind) by going here, and here. Overall, employerprovided adoption benefits are extremely useful for families at all points in their adoption journey. Information, financial assistance, and much needed leave time are imperative to a good start, and your employer may be able to lend a hand.