Adoption Benefits In The Workplace

Whether adoptive parents (specifically mothers) should receive paid maternity/paternity leave is a hotly debated question at the moment.  Kara Krill’s lawsuit against her former company has brought this issue front and center.

According to an article on Time Magazine’s website, Krill and her husband recently became the parents of twins due to a surrogacy pregnancy. The article said that Krill gave birth to a child in 2007 but afterwards developed “scar tissue in the uterus” which resulted in her being unable to give birth again.

When Krill gave birth to her child she received paid maternity leave for 13 weeks, and according to the article Krill believed she was entitled to the same 13 weeks with her twins. However the article said that the company “granted Krill five days of paid leave under the company’s adoption leave policy, but no paid time under the company’s maternity leave policy.” The company also offers coverage of $4,000 dollars of adoption costs according to the article.

The obvious issue here is whether adoptive parents should be offered the same maternity/paternity leave rights as biological parents. The article wonders whether maternity leave is meant as a recovery time for a woman after giving birth, or as a time to bond with the new children?

This topic is currently being discussed on the Adoption STAR LinkedIn page, “Touched By Adoption.” The consensus on the page is that adoptive parents are not looking for any special privileges, just the same benefits afforded to women who give birth.

Bonnie E. commented on the thread stating, “We are talking about the fairness of who gets to use the already in place benefits and who does not. We are not talking about forcing expenses on a business. If the use of sick time, and vacation can be used by those who are creating their family by giving birth, then those creating their families via adoption should also be able to apply sick and vacation towards their family…. Do you honestly believe that it was fair that I, or for that matter, a same sex couple, are not able to use sick time post adoption during FML, but the woman at the desk next to me who gave birth was permitted to use her eight weeks of accumulated sick and vacation time?”

Robert H. who is a small business owner, commented that small businesses should not be required to offer this paid leave as it is their responsibility “to make a profit so their employees can have jobs, not pay for social policies.”

While an adoptive mother did not physically deliver the child, her journey is filled with an incredible amount of emotions affecting her both physically and mentally.  In addition, studies have also shown the importance of early bonding between child and parent, especially for a child arriving due to an adoption plan.

Adoption STAR applauds businesses that are adoption friendly.  Such businesses have policies that include adoption leave benefits that either match maternity leave or are similar, to maternity benefits.  Some businesses, both large and small have been known to also offer assistance with adoption fees.

Please share your opinions including your experiences with adoption friendly (and not so friendly) workplaces.

In another blog post we share how one can go about making your place of employment adoption friendly.