View Full Version : Did you get paid 'maternity leave' when you adopted?

01-07-2005, 12:02 AM
Just curious to know if my experience is the norm. My company's maternity benefit is paid as a medical disability. When we adopted J. I got 3 days of new parent leave (same as a new father), but the remainder of my leave was unpaid. When I tell my co-worker's this they can't believe it--if I gave birth I would get 100% of my pay for 6 weeks (8 weeks for a c-section). My company does offer an adoption assistance reimbursement, but not until the adoption is final and it comes nowhere near the amount I would get if I was given 6 weeks pay.

I'm seriously considering lobbying within my company for better benefits, but I'm not sure what the 'norm' is at other companies.

Mom to Jeremiah 2/2003

01-07-2005, 12:06 AM
I'm not sure where you live/work, but I didn't get 100% pay for maternity leave. State Disability was about 60% and after the 6 weeks PPD (I also got 4 weeks before due date) I got zero. Some people opt for "short term disability insurance," and THOSE people got 100% pay. Unfortunately I didn't sign up for it (duh!).

What I did get was about 5 months of leave, total, with my job guaranteed upon return.

I wonder, though, if you HAD signed up for the insurance (or the company provided it) you would qualify since you are not disabled? hmm...to my knowledge, at least around here, the FMLA or CFRA just guarantees you won't lose your job (while caring for a family member..adoption..birth...mom or dad...doesn't matter), not that you get paid for your time off.

HTH, not sure if it did though!

01-07-2005, 12:49 AM
Thanks for the reply. You're right, the reason I did not get paid leave was because the maternity benefit provided by my company is for a medical disability--not because you have an infant to care for. I did get 12 weeks FMLA--unpaid, but with a guarantee that my job was held.

I'm just curious if anyone who's adopted has gotten paid leave. If the only paid leave comes from actually giving birth then I know what I've experienced is the norm.

I work for a high tech fortune 500 company in the Pacific Northwest. I'm in a male dominated field and the company has a goal of hiring and retaining women. What actually burns me about the whole thing is I had 3 MC's and didn't get any bereavement or other time-off benefit (I had to use vacation days).--Okay, my bitch is over--I know that life's not fair and this should probably go in the bitching post :).

Mom to Jeremiah 2/2003

01-07-2005, 02:34 AM
That seems inappropriate that you didn't get bereavement or something...I guess you could have taken sick time were it available?

If you have the desire, I say definitely bring up adoption benefits to your company (I don't mean desire to adopt, but desire to speak up). I know Dh's company has some, but they are in the form of financial reimbursements.

My former company was so smugly-male-dominated and family unfriendly that I didn't even bother bringing things up. I did ream them on it in my exit interview, but I doubt that was worth much.

Kimberly H
01-07-2005, 06:51 AM
I was on FMLA when I adopted Mia and got to use all of my paid leave time but after that, no check and I had to pay both my portion and the company's portion of my insurance. My company also only pays maternity as a medical disability.

BCBS is apparently the only major insurance company that doesn't offer adoption benefits to its employees. When I brought that up to our HR department, they were less than impressed... very much how I feel about our senior management.

ETA: We also get zero adoption beneftis so no monies at all.

However, be sure to check your state for monies and tax credits. We were pleasantly surprised during our homestudy to find backwards South Carolina gives a one-time (small) reimbursement for adoption costs and an on-going small tax credit because international adoption is considered "special needs". I still haven't received my $ from the state yet, though they released our case for funds and we'll see how the whole tax credit thing plays out this year :)

01-07-2005, 10:06 AM
I work for an employee benefits consulting firm, and we get up to 16 weeks unpaid FMLA leave (FMLA specifies 12 weeks, we get 16) for birth, adoption, etc. For birth or adoption, full time employees get 5 paid days of family leave (concurrent with the 16 weeks). And women who give birth get 6 weeks paid (8 weeks for a c-section) under STD. It is some combination of 100% pay and 60% pay, depending on length of service. So, it sounds comparable to what your company gives.

01-07-2005, 11:05 AM
I work for one of the "Top 25 Family-Friendly Employers" (allegedly) around Chicago. It is also one of the largest healthcare systems (maybe the largest by now) in the nation. They allow up to 12 weeks unpaid FMLA for adoption vs 60% pay for pregnancies as they consider pregnancy a "short-term disability" (6 wks pay for a vaginal birth, 8 wks pay for a C/S). While many people in HR that I spoke to agreed that benefits for adoption were unfair, they wouldn't do anything to help. We do get adoption benefits, but only after finalization (which didn't happen for almost 7 months) and if your work status doesn't change (mine did, as now I only work a couple of days a month), so I received nothing. It isn't much $$ anyway, honestly.
Interesting facts that I have read....less than 1/2 of 1% of employees at busineses that offer adoption benefites actually ever use them. Also, medical studies show that a woman is typically physically healed from a vaginal birth by 2 weeks (my son's birthmother was back at work light-duty after 2 weeks). That means that any additional pay after a delivery is mostly for bonding and adjustment. As one HR rep from my company said,"I would think that adoptive parents need that more than anyone." Go figure.
The Dave Thomas Foundation site www.davethomasfoundation.org has a free CD-ROM that they will send you if you'd like to work with your employer for adoption benefits.
~Connor's Mom~
http://lilypie.com/baby1/050204/1/0/1/-6/.png (http://lilypie.com)

01-07-2005, 04:11 PM
At my school district, birth parents get 2 days paid leave (and then 6 weeks disability at, I think 60%?) and adoptive parents get 5 days paid leave. And they offer a year's unpaid leave for maternity/paternity time.

Good luck. I think it's really the medical aspect/disability that helps birth parents. The company generally pays disability insurance - right? - so they don't actually have to deal with the cost of paying a non-working parent.

01-07-2005, 05:32 PM
I don't work outside the home...but DH (after a month off which he took Vacation) he was reminded by HR That he gets 20 days paid leave after the adoption.

He declined it since I am due in March and he just feels he'd rather wait till the whole family is here at which time he will take 2 weeks I think...

But his company is very well known for employee benefits let alone adoption benes...

they give $5,000 a child reimbursement for adoption so they are very supportive. Their adoption benefits start from day 1 of employment too...

I hope you do lobby!!!! There are website out there I'll see if I can find it that help you in this endeavor to lobby for action in the adoption world...
Reichen (6), Karsh (3), Tristan (22 months) and baby girl Bronwyn on the way due March 19th!!!!

01-10-2005, 03:49 AM
>Also, medical studies show that a
>woman is typically physically healed from a vaginal birth by 2
>weeks (my son's birthmother was back at work light-duty after
>2 weeks). That means that any additional pay after a delivery
>is mostly for bonding and adjustment.

I'd be interested to know what studies you're referencing. I must admit that I'm a little skeptical of their claims, and will remain so at least until I read them; I was told during pregnancy to expect it to take about six weeks to recover after a vaginal birth with no complications, and my experience bore that out.

I'm not saying that adoptive parents don't also deserve the benefit of paid adjustment time, but I don't think claiming there's no physical need for that time after giving birth is going to help you get that time.

01-10-2005, 11:01 AM
>>Also, medical studies show that a
>>woman is typically physically healed from a vaginal birth by
>>weeks (my son's birthmother was back at work light-duty
>>2 weeks). That means that any additional pay after a
>>is mostly for bonding and adjustment.

Not according to what I was told. I was told to rest as much as possible and around 2 weeks is when women tend to get into trouble with hemorraging b/c they are feeling better but shouldn't be up and around a lot. The time beyond disability, here, is for the bonding...the unpaid FMLA/CFRA. My boss, who was in another state, orginally declined my time off request b/c it was so long. The HR woman contacted her and said, "No, the state of California wants parents to bond with their babies." LOL.

01-10-2005, 12:58 PM
OK.....I looked at the site that originally had the article and it has been replaced with an article about bonding. Despite a search, I cannot find the exact article (and I am kicking myself because I wanted to reference it in a letter to my employer). If I should find it, I will link it. I, personally, wouldn't recommend/encourage any woman to return to work after two weeks (and I say this as someone who has never experienced a 9 month pregnancy or post-partum). I'm only passing on what the article said (don't kill the
messenger ! :) )

If I remember some of the key points to the article, it said that after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, a woman is physically capable of returning to work within 2-3 weeks if she doesn't experience any complications during that time. It takes longer for a woman's body to return to "normal" after delivery (uterus size, hormones, etc.), but the experience of the birth itself doesn't usually require further time to heal.

The only thing that I can relate this article to is that I do know several women who returned to their jobs within 2-3 weeks for various reasons (needed the salary, high-powered job, docs who didn't want to offset their residency, birthmothers wanting to resume their lives, etc.) A co-worker of mine wants to return to work ASAP for monetary reasons, she asked her doc, he said if everything goes well she could return by 3 weeks but he'd prefer that she "take the time to rest and return to normal" and he'd prefer light-duty. So, the option for her and many women to return to work or take more time is there (with benefits). Even if she gets cleared to return and at the last minute decides not to, it's covered and she can use the time to rest, heal, bond, whatever. Many adoptive parents do not get paid time to deal with any of it, even though exhaustion, bonding, change in life, and even the blues (post-adoption blues) are things we share in common. I'm not trying in any way to diminish the body changes or recovery needed after giving birth or generalize and say that all women can return that soon (truth is, I don't think many can), but when trying to make change with an employer, "holes in the system" need to be pointed out and discussed.

~Connor's Mom~
http://lilypie.com/baby1/050204/1/0/1/-6/.png (http://lilypie.com)

01-18-2005, 08:24 PM
I was very lucky and got 6 weeks at 100% and 2 weeks at 60% pay for my adoption leave (the weeks were based on my length of service) and I also received $3000 in adoption assistance (the benefits were the same for both adoptive moms and adoptive dads)...but my company went through a merger recently and for 2005 there are no adoption benefits. I know I was very lucky, but after reading all of your responses I'm realizing how super fortunate I was. My DH had to use vacation for any paid leave he took.

:) Kristin
Mom to Theo, born 1/12/2004 in Korea ~ home forever 7/6/2004
and Morgan the yellow lab

01-20-2005, 06:22 PM
Wow. Now I REALLY think my benefits are good. I get 12 weeks paid maternity leave at 100% my salary, and that also applies to adoption.

01-22-2005, 05:04 AM
My good friend works for JP Morgan/Chase and got 12 weeks paid leave for after both the birth of her older daughter AND the adoption of her younger daughter from China.

I thought this way EXTREMELY generous, something I had never heard of. In fact, I think I remember asking her to repeat it because I could not believe what she was saying.

We can use our accrued vacation time for adoption, concurrent with the 12 weeks of FMLA. Our sick time rolls from year to year, so we don't have STD benefits, but we can use, and actually are required to use, all sick time and all vacation time. We are allowed to save one week of vacation time in either situation. After that any PTO is exhausted, any additional leave time is unpaid.

03-18-2005, 10:47 PM
Dave Thomas has a website www.adoptionfriendlyworkplace.org

I recently completed some research and submitted a request to HR to take a second look at their policies. They currently give $5000 adoption assistance but I would much rather have paid leave. The website lists 100's of companies that offer paid leave, financial assistance and/or unpaid leave. You can also request a folder and CD ROM to help your employer make a better decision. I work for a large pharmaceutical company and I think that no one has ever questioned the policy. Our other benefits are top notch and I'm hoping they will make some changes that I can use with the next baby.

Nothing will change at your company unless someone asks the question!

03-22-2005, 07:39 PM
I work for a state university. I will be getting 8 weeks paid adoption leave (same as maternity) but I have to use sick leave for it (but we something like 6 months of sick leave when we have worked at a certain leave for over two years). We use FML to obtain our leave.

We do not get any cost paid for our adoption. I also will not be able to take more than 8 weeks, even using vacation leave without showing just cause.


04-08-2005, 02:08 PM
wow. these stories are pretty amazing. Do you all know that the US has the WORST maternity leave laws in the entire developed world? What a freaking JOKE it is when you get 12 weeks off UNPAID and your job is guaranteed. lets PUNISH women for having children! what a GREAT idea.
In Canada you get a YEAR off, with 50 percent pay no matter WHAT company you work for. I think it has to be a certain size, but still.
Its pretty much still about hitting your head on a glass ceiling. I think americans work too damn much for their own good. the productivity is good, but the cost is huge. I think that maternity benefits for adoptive parents should be EXACTLY the same. There will be no society to hand down to if there are no children!
just me venting with the rest of ya.

Maria K
07-05-2005, 11:08 PM
Hi Traci -
I also work for a "Family Friendly" company in the Chicago area... that offers NO adoption benefits. My company was actually picked by Working Mother magazine a couple of years ago... blech.

To everyone -
Just wanted to give a "I hear ya"... it stinks royally. If anyone has been able to change their company's benefits... let me know! I've tried and have gotten NOWHERE.

- Maria K

07-06-2005, 08:33 AM
I'm a SAHM, and I worked PT before the adoption, so adoption benefits (that mimic maternity leave) didn't apply to me, but my husband's male-dominated international company offered nothing. No financial assistance, no time off (he used his vacation time to be in Japan with me and was therefore only there for a week-and-a-half vs my being overseas for 4 weeks) -- NOTHING.

Adoption.com has some resources (several articles that discuss the issue) on how to lobby your employer for adoption benefits:


My understanding is that adoption benefits are really a new thing, so employers haven't all caught on to the concept yet.

Hope this helps! :)

07-06-2005, 08:38 AM
>> The HR woman contacted her and said, "No, the state of California wants parents to bond with their babies."

If that's the case, then isn't it also true for adoptive parents? Maybe CA could legislate that companies who offer maternity leave should also offer adoption benefits that pay equivalent amounts. (CA is known for passing bold, innovative legislation, is it not? LOL) :+