Adoption Leave Around the World
Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, and Edgar Allan Poe are all chillin’ in the same room. What are they talking about?
Besides social rights, the iPhone, and dark romanticism, they might bond over their shared experience of being adopted.
Sorry for their new parents, adoption leave was a thing of the future.
These days, many countries and businesses offer maternity and paternity leave, which often includes adoption. These types of leaves are for helping new parents through the first few months of their child’s life.
Adoption leave policies vary from location to location, so it’s essential to do your research before making decisions. We cover the basics for you in this article.
What is Adoption Leave?
Adoption leave is the time off work given to a parent to care for their newborn or newly adopted child. It is not a statutory requirement but is typically covered under parental leave by most countries.
Adoption leave can be a lifesaver for new parents who are struggling to balance work and home life. It gives them the time they need to bond with their new child and get them settled into a routine. It can also be a great opportunity to take some much-needed time off from work to enjoy this new phase of life.
Every country has different laws and regulations regarding this type of leave, and it can be a complex topic to navigate. That said, it’s important to be aware of the different options available to those who are looking to adopt a child—and that’s whether you’re an employer or an employee.
For Employers & Employees
If you’re an employer, you will want to develop and implement a parental leave policy that considers the unique needs of adoptive families. You may like to offer paid or unpaid leave, allow employees to use vacation or sick days, or offer a flexible work schedule. Be sure to consult with your human resources department to develop a policy that meets the needs of your employees and complies with state and federal laws.
If you’re an employee, you may be eligible for adoption leave. This leave can be taken before or after the adoption process is complete and can be used to bond with your new child. Adoption leave is typically unpaid, but some employers may offer paid leave as part of their benefits package. Check with your HR department to see what your company’s policy is.
For the specifics on adoption leave country by country, continue reading below.
Around 135,000 children are adopted in the US every year, with 100,000 children up for adoption in a single day.
The USA adopts the most children internationally than the rest of the world combined.
In Mercer’s 2016 Global Parental Leave report, 29% of companies worldwide provide more adoption leave than what is required by law. The highest concentration of these companies is found in the Americas and the lowest in the Asia Pacific.
More than 87% of companies handle leave for same-sex couples in the same way they handle opposite-sex couples.
Adoption Leave by Country
In the United States, paid adoption leave is not mandated by federal law, but some states have their own laws on the matter. As of 2022, four states and one federal district in the US offer paid parental leave to employees: New York State, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington state, and Washington D.C.
That said, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, workers in the US who adopt are also entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. This leave can be taken all at once or intermittently and can be used to bond with the child, attend to the child’s medical needs, or deal with any adoption-related issues that may arise. Employees who adopt are also eligible for the same job-protected leave that is available to birth parents.
To learn about the eligibility requirements for FMLA, visit this page.
If you live in a state without mandated paid leave, check with your employer to see if they offer any sort of adoption leave policy. Some companies have policies that offer new parents a certain amount of paid leave.
The Canadian government offers a variety of leave options for parents adopting a child. These include standard parental benefits and extended parental benefits. Standard parental leave offers up to 40 weeks (max. 35 weeks per parent), and extended parental leave offers up to 69 weeks (max. 61 weeks per parent). Both standard and extended parental leave offer capped payments.
Public servants may take up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave in the first 52-weeks of the adoption process. If their employer agrees, they can take this time in two separate blocks.
Check out our maternity and paternity leave articles on Canada to learn more about rates and eligibility for employees.
Statutory Adoption Leave is offered in the UK for up to 52 weeks, and Statutory Adoption Pay is provided for up to 39 weeks. Only one parent can take adoption leave; however, the other partner might qualify for paternity leave or maternity leave instead. Visit the UK’s government site to learn more about adoption pay and leave.
Adoptive parents in the UK might also be eligible for shared parental leave. Parents can take up to 50 weeks of leave shared, and 37 of those weeks are paid if they meet the eligibility criteria. This leave can be split between parents and taken simultaneously, or it can be staggered so one parent is at home with the child at a time.
Australians who are eligible receive up to 18 weeks of paid leave at the national minimum wage. As of July 2020, employees can claim this benefit over one set period of 12 weeks, followed by a second flexible period. Employees can take their leave in chunks during the flexible period within the first 24 months of adopting the child.
Adoptive parents can take up to 10 weeks of parental leave and 22 weeks if adopting more than one child. If this leave is shared between two parents, the period is extended by 11 days (for one child) and 18 days (for multiple children). The French government calculates the daily allowance based on the employee’s salary.
Adoptive parents can take up to three years of unpaid parental leave and split the time between two parents. While this leave is unpaid, parents can apply for a parental allowance (Eterngeld) for a minimum of two months and a maximum of 24 months.
If the adopted child is up to six years old, each parent can take off up to 16 weeks. If the child is older than six, the adoptive parents can take 10 weeks off. Parents receive 100% of their compensation during this time.
Parental leave is up to 480 days of paid parental leave, split equally between both adoptive parents. A single adoptive parent is entitled to the full 480 days of leave, and parents receive 80% of their full salary.
Up until the child reaches the age of 2, either parent may take leave, and the leave must be staggered and cannot be taken at the same time by both parents. The government provides a flat rate benefit, depending on the child’s age.
Employees who adopt a child between the ages of 2 and 7 can take an unpaid leave period for six months at the time of adoption.
If you adopt a child under the age of 18, you are entitled to 6 weeks of leave. The first week off is mandatory, and the remaining weeks can be extended in certain cases (e.g., if you are a single parent, if your child has a disability, or you are adopting more than one child at the same time). The first three days of adoption leave are paid at 100%, and the remaining time is paid at 82% of the employee’s salary.
If the child is adopted internationally, both parents are entitled to 4-8 weeks of leave at their full salary. If the child is adopted in Denmark, parents are entitled to 1-2 weeks. Under the discretion of the adoption authorities, parents may be entitled to a leave of 14 weeks.
Parents who adopt a child receive paid leave for 3 months during the first 6 months of adoption. Adoptive parents are eligible for this payment as long as the child is under six years of age. Each parent can take a total of four months off.
Each adoptive parent is entitled to 3 months of leave. The parents can also take an additional 3 months divided between them. The payments depend on the status of the labor market.
Parents may take up to 12 months of shared leave. Each parent is entitled to six months, and an additional month may be transferred to the other parent (i.e., one parent can take 7 months and the other 5). Payments provided over the 12 months amount to 80% coverage.
Parents can also take unpaid temporary leave up until the child turns 8.
Adoptive leave in Ireland offers 24 weeks to one adoptive parent or single parent. Parents can receive an adoptive benefit during this time. An additional 16 weeks off of work is offered, but unpaid. Each adoptive parent is also entitled to 5 weeks of unpaid parental leave during the first two years of adoption.
Employees can take five months of leave at the time of adoption (for domestic adoptions). Leave for international adoptions can begin before the adoption for time to comply with adoption regulations. Only one adoptive parent is entitled to leave. Employees receive 80% of their salary from the government, and typically employers pay the remaining 20%.
Employees may take adoption leave if the adopted child is under 12. This type of leave can only be granted to one parent, and they will receive 100% of their salary (up to a maximum). The parent who does not qualify for the adoption leave can take 10 personal days to assist with the adoption. After the adoption leave is over, both parents can take a first and second parental leave where they will also receive 100% of their pay.
Each adoptive parent is entitled to 6 weeks of adoption leave if the child is under 15 years of age. They may also receive an adoption allowance of 100% of their salary. This leave may be taken over a longer period of time.
Adoptive parents may take 12 months of leave shared at the time of adoption. Each parent is entitled to an additional year of unpaid leave that can only be taken immediately after the first year. The parental benefit received can either be distributed over 49 weeks at 100% coverage or over 59 weeks at 80% coverage.
If the adopted child is under the age of 5, each parent can take 13 weeks of paid leave, or if they share the time between them, they can receive an additional 4 weeks. They receive 25% of their regular pay. Following the paid leave period, one of the two parents may take up to two years of unpaid childcare leave on a full-time basis.
Adoptive parents receive 84 days of shared leave if the adopted child is under 4 years of age. The government provides payments at 80% of their salary.
If the adopted child is under 3 years of age, employees may take paid leave for 8 months starting at the time of adoption. Either one of the parents can work part-time until the child begins school.
Adoption leave can be a huge help for adoptive parents, giving them time to bond with their new child without having to worry about work. It can also be a great opportunity for parents to get their new child settled into a routine before having to go back to the office.
Whether you’re an employer with a worker about to adopt or an employee thinking of adopting, be sure to check your location’s current leave laws as each country differs significantly. For more information on leave laws around the world, go here.
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