AF’s Instant Letter: Adoption Benefits
Adoption assistance benefits are moving into the mainstream. If your company doesn’t offer them—or if they’re inadequate—AF’s here to help you take matters into your own hands.
Use this Adoptive Families Instant Letter to launch your campaign to convince your employer to offer expense reimbursement and paid leave.
Download and customize it (or print it out here) and then send it to your human resources director, your boss, your boss' boss—and anyone in-between who will listen. Help your company join the ranks of enlightened employers who acknowledge the fact that adoption is an important way to build families—and help make your (or someone else’s) adoption a reality.
Then, after you send the letter, tell us how things turned out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an employee of our company for more than [insert number] of years, I have appreciated [insert name of your company]’s generous benefits. At this time, however, our company does not offer [insert “adoption expense reimbursement” and/or “paid leave”] to adopting parents. Because I am in the process of adopting a child, these benefits are of vital importance to me.
Adoption benefits are good for business. A recent New York Times article reported that “with more than 100,000 Americans adopting each year, adoption benefits are becoming a hot new perk in the panoply of workplace benefits.” The article described how Bank Rhode Island, for example, introduced adoption benefits to retain a valued employee who had decided to adopt a child from China.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, established by the late founder of Wendy’s International, has identified the following advantages that adoption benefits offer companies:
Mothers who choose to build their families through birth receive generous maternity benefits at [insert name of your company], including [insert number] weeks of paid time off. An adoptive parent, however, does not currently receive comparable paid leave, even though the effort involved in caring for an adopted child is the same.
Keeping pace with current benefit trends
The number of employers offering paid leave and adoption expense reimbursement for adoptive parents is growing. Of Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies, the vast majority offers financial assistance and/or paid leave for adoption. Some companies, such as JP Morgan Chase, offer up to 12 weeks’ paid leave and reimburse up to $10,000 for adoption expenses; the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca International offers seven weeks’ paid leave and $5,000 in reimbursement. Adoption can be expensive, with average costs ranging from $20,000 to $25,000, according to the 2005 Adoptive Families magazine adoption cost survey (www.adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-cost). These figures do not take into account the income a parent may forego during an unpaid leave.
Low use rates
Less than half of one percent of any employee population will use adoption benefits during a year.
Building employee loyalty and goodwill
Employee satisfaction contributes significantly to productivity. Employer support of adoption can renew a sense of loyalty and a commitment to results. Even employees who do not adopt are pleased that their employer has included the needs of adoptive parents in the company’s agenda.
Giving back to the community
Financial assistance and leave time are critical to the success of an adoption. By making it easier for employees to adopt, an employer acknowledges the importance of families to children. Employer support of adoption can make a critical difference for the more than 100,000 children adopted annually in the United States and for their adoptive parents.
More information about these benefits to business can be found at the Dave Thomas Foundation’s Adoption Friendly Workplace Web site at www.adoptionfriendlyworkplace.org.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with the appropriate staff at the firm. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter.
[Your name and title here]
Adapted from Adoptive Families' “How to Lobby Your Employer for Adoption Benefits” by Elizabeth A. Mair.
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