November 29, 2011

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Suggest Adoption Benefits at Work

While many companies have health and dental benefits, fewer have adoption benefits. Talk to the HR manager or anyone in charge of making decisions about adding adoption benefits to your existing health benefits.

Adoption Benefits

According to the US Department of Health and Family Services, the past decade has seen the number of employers who offer adoption benefits to their employees rise from 12% in 1990 to 39% in 2004, with an average maximum reimbursement of $3,879 for adoption expenses.

Adoption benefits offered by employees can be similar to benefits offered to biological parents, and fall within three categories: information resources, financial assistance, and a parental leave policy.

Information resources may include referrals to agencies, access to adoption specialists, and support groups. Financial assistance varies greatly with some employers offering a lump sum payment to adoptive parents, and others offering reimbursement of some expenses associated with the adoption.

Under the Family Medical Leave Act, employers with 50 or more employees are required to grant mothers and fathers up to 12 weeks of unpaid upon the birth of the adopted child. However, companies that have more friendly adoption policies in place can offer as much as 12 weeks paid leave for their adopting employees.

For more information regarding employer-provided adoption benefits, visit the US Department of Health and Family Services Child Welfare Information Gateway.

If you find yourself working for a company that does not offer adoption benefits, ask someone in your HR department to consider adding the benefits. For help in preparing an HR proposal, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption offers a free toolkit for employees including such tools as the booklet Beyond Benefits: More Ways to Make Your Workplace Adoption-Friendly.

With a little research and with the help from great resources such as The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, you can prepare yourself to make an informative proposal to your HR department. Because, what does it hurt to ask?

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