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Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits

Understanding Adoption Benefits at Work

Adoption benefits at work can be incredibly helpful for families considering adoption. The adoption process can be long and challenging. Knowing there will be information or financial assistance as well as parental leave from an employer can make the process more manageable.

American Adoptions knows it’s crucial for you to recognize the employer-provided adoption benefits that may apply to your workplace.

This guide will help you determine the best possible adoption benefits employers can offer you.

Why Choose American Adoptions?

  • Short wait times
  • We protect your budget
  • A licensed, regulated agency

Learn more about the advantages of choosing American Adoptions, here.

The Types of Adoption Benefits at Work Employers Offer

Adoption benefits at work are typically similar to benefits available to new biological parents. These benefits fall into three general categories:

Employers may offer one or more of these types of benefits during an employee’s adoption journey.

And although employer-provided adoption benefits for adoptive families continue to be a growing trend, there is still a need for improvement.

In 1990, a survey by Hewitt Associates found that only 12% of companies offered some kind of employer-provided adoption assistance. And according to Aon Hewitt’s 2019 survey of over 200 U.S. companies, only 20% offered a financial adoption benefit.

In his book Adoption Nation, Pulitzer-prize nominated journalist Adam Pertman says companies are finding that “providing adoption benefits not only displays social responsibility and an ability to respond to changing conditions but also makes for more satisfied workers.”

Pertman also says that employer-provided adoption benefits can be a relatively cheap investment for employers since only about 0.1% of employees with available adoption benefits at work use them.

So, how can more companies assist their employees through the adoption process?

Let’s take a deeper look at the different types of employer-provided adoption benefits companies may offer:

Information Resources

Available Resources May Include:

A contract with a human resources consulting firm may provide this type of employer adoption assistance, as companies rarely have someone on staff who is well-versed in the adoption process and adoption professionals.

Financial Assistance

Financial benefits take different forms, such as:

Typical reimbursement plans cover 80% of certain itemized expenses up to an established ceiling (about $4,000 on average). Some employers reimburse at a higher rate for adoptions of children with disabilities.

Employer-provided Adoption Assistance Can Cover:

  • Court costs

  • Medical expenses

  • Transportation costs

  • Counseling fees associated with placement

  • And more

Some employers pay benefits per adoption, while others pay per child adopted.

In most cases, employer-provided adoption benefits are paid after the adoption is finalized, though some employers may pay when the child is placed or as expenses incurred.

Parental Leave

In many circumstances, employers are required to grant parental leave to new adoptive parents.

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer both mothers and fathers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child. The law ensures that employees have job security and health benefits during the leave period.

Some employers allow employees to take more than 12 weeks of unpaid leave and use accumulated paid leave, like a vacation or sick leave, to extend their total leave.

Other employers may offer paid leave for employees who adopt a child or may be bound by union contracts that have provisions for adoption leave, as well.

In addition to federal law, many states require employers to offer parental leave to adoptive parents.

To find out about a particular state, you can check your state’s adoption policy handbook or contact the state’s adoption program manager — whose information can be found in Information Gateway’s online National Foster Care and Adoption Directory.

Guaranteed parental leave can be the most helpful form of employer adoption assistance and is a sign of an adoption-friendly workplace.

Employer-provided Adoption Benefits Eligibility and Conditions

Eligibility for an employer adoption assistance program may depend on a few factors, such as:

  • Length of employment

  • Participation in a company-sponsored health plan

  • Size of employer

The type of adoption can also affect employer-provided adoption benefits. For example, some employers do not provide benefits for stepchild adoption. Others offer enhanced benefits for the adoption of a child with disabilities.

Employers Offering Adoption Benefits

To find out if your company offers some form of adoption benefits, ask your human resource or personnel department.

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption encourages employer benefits for adoption. Its website includes:

  • Lists of employers that offer adoption benefits like financial reimbursement and paid leave

  • An annual list of the nation’s “100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces

  • A free toolkit and technical assistance for companies wishing to propose or establish an adoption benefits policy

The Holt International website includes an extensive list of employers that provide adoption benefits as well.


As a hopeful adoptive family or prospective birth parent considering adoption, employer-provided adoption assistance is very beneficial. Understanding how to utilize these adoption benefits at work is also vital.

Why Choose American Adoptions?

  • Short wait times
  • We protect your budget
  • A licensed, regulated agency

Learn more about the advantages of choosing American Adoptions, here.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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