The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act or FFMLA was passed a number of years ago to help families who have a new child with them. This also covered adoption maternity and paternity leave for adoptive or foster parents. This Act applies to all businesses with at least 50 employees as well as all state and local governments and all public and private schools. The Act mandates up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protective leave per year, and with continued insurance benefits.
In order to qualify for Family Leave, for a business with at least 50 employees, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours over those 12 months and at a location within 75 miles of where the 50 or more employees work. While this is provided for under federal law, states may have their own version of this law and it is therefore advisable for any new parents to check to see if that is the case. The leave can only be taken within 12 months following the birth or the placement of a child. Since this applies to adoptive parents, the leave could be taken separately and need not be taken together which would then provide 24 weeks of unpaid leave. However, if the parents are working for the same employer, the 12 weeks are combined.
Although this discussion involves the federal FMLA, many states now have requirements that mandate smaller companies to participate in these programs, with some even requiring a certain amount of pay for time off. It is important that all adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents review their state laws. The National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a website that may provide additional information.