Adoption benefits: the silent employee benefits issue

By Rita Soronen
President and CEO

Adoption-Friendly Workplace

In the workplace, employers understand that families formed through biology need time to bond and, if possible, they also need some help with the associated expenses. They need networks and connections with other parents, and a little patience and understanding when children are ill, have special needs or are simply on holiday breaks. And the more family friendly a work environment is, the more successful they are at attracting and supporting effective and loyal employees.

So why would a family formed through adoption be ignored in the workplace? More often than not, when we ask companies if they provide adoption benefits, like paid leave and assistance with adoption expenses, the answer is almost always, “we didn’t know we could.”

Adoption-Friendly Workplace, one of our signature programs, not only shows how easy it is to provide benefits for adoptive families where they work, but recognizes employers across the nation who step up and make their workplace adoption-fair.

Adoptions benefits are easy to implement and include paid leave or unpaid leave, financial assistance for adoption expenses, and/or workplace recognition and celebration of families formed through adoption.  And once an employer is on board, they are our best advocates.

For example, an executive at Patagonia said, “Children deserve good parents. Patagonia’s adoption benefits help parents better balance work and family life and ensure positive experiences for their children.”

A spokesperson at HanesBrands “believes in providing a variety of industry-competitive benefits programs that also recognize and promote diversity as well as work/life balance. We feel our adoption assistance program is a key component in meeting these objectives.”

And of course Dave Thomas said about creating one if the nation’s first adoption benefit packages at Wendy’s, “It is the right thing to do.”

We know that adoption benefits in the workplace are simple to implement, cost effective and build loyal and strong work forces. More important, an employer who implements adoption benefits helps create a social environment that recognizes that families formed through adoption are as important to celebrate and support as families formed through birth.

If you are an employee, ask your employer if they are adoption-fair. If you are an employer and want to share with us how you support your adoptive families, take a moment and complete this survey. You might qualify as one of the Dave Thomas Foundation’s 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces. And we guarantee, you will be a hero to hundreds of thousands of children waiting to be adopted.

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