Thinking about adoption? There are a lot of things to think about, including finances. Can you afford adoption? Where can you get help with your finances? These are just some of the questions that come to mind. A good answer to these questions is yes and through your employer, respectively. That’s right. Your employer. Many employers are offering adoption assistance benefits to their employees. In fact, some sources estimate that over 50 percent of employers offer some type of adoption assistance benefits. Here is a quick rundown on what employee adoption assistance benefits are, what they cover, and why employers provide adoption benefits.
There are three main types of employee adoption assistance benefits. They are financial support, information resources, and parental leave policies.
Let’s start with financial support. Financial support is an amount of money that an employer provides an employee to cover specific adoption expenses. This can include things like the legal expenses or agency fees that accompany an adoption. It can also include things like travel expenses, medical costs or pregnancy costs for a birth mother.
Some employers pay these expenses up front as they accrue or provide lump sum payments. Others provide reimbursement for these expenses after the adoption is finalized. For example, if Gabby sought to adopt a child, her employer could provide a $10,000 lump sum to cover her legal fees associated with the adoption. Alternatively, it could reimburse her for a certain percentage of her adoption related expenses after the adoption is finalized.
Financial assistance for employees seeking adoption is important because an adoption can cost up to $40,000. This is why some employers provide anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 to employees seeking to adopt a child. It is also why many employers reimburse employees for a certain percentage, usually 80 percent, of certain adoption expenses. If you are interested in adoption, make sure to check with your employer to see what financial assistance you may be eligible for and how it is paid out.
The next type of employer provided adoption benefit is informational resources. Informational resources include things such as referrals to licensed adoption agencies, counselors, and support groups. It can also include things like access to an adoption specialist who can answer questions about the adoption process or who can navigate a prospective adoptive parent through the specifics of special circumstances such as adopting a special needs child. For example, if Isaac is seeking to adopt a child, his employer could refer her to Adoption Choices for more information on the adoption process.
Finally, adoption assistance benefits can take the form of parental leave policies. Parental leave includes leave policies that extend beyond federal and state guidelines. Federal law requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide 12 weeks unpaid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child. State laws also have varied leave requirements upon the birth or adoption of a child.
Some employers help employees seeking to adopt by providing them with more unpaid leave than required by law. Some employers provide paid leave to their employees. Others allow employees to combine unpaid leave with other paid leave like vacation or sick days. For example, if Jessica is seeking to adopt a child, her employer could provide her with 8 weeks of paid leave that is separate from her vacation time to help her bond with her adopted child.
Why provide adoption assistance to employees? Employers state that providing these benefits helps them retain and recruit employees. It also helps the employees they retain remain productive. They also say that providing these benefits is the right thing to do. This makes sense. Taking away some of the financial and other stresses associated with adoption allows employees to focus on what is important, namely bonding with their adoptive child. Employees that are able to develop nurturing bonds with their adopted children can return to work in their best mental state, which ensures their productivity. And providing employee adoption assistance is definitely the right thing to do.
Want to learn more. Contact Adoption Choices of Missouri for more information on employee adoption assistance and for other information on the adoption process.