Is Adoption Covered by the FMLA?

By Gregory Thyberg on November 16, 2021


a smiling familyThe Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows for unpaid time off from work for eligible employees for medical and family related reasons. Under the FMLA, qualified employees may take time off to bond with and care for a newly adopted child. 

Employers covered by the FMLA are not allowed to prevent eligible employees from taking leave. At Thyberg Law, attorney Gregory Thyberg helps employees facing difficulties from their employer for taking time off for the adoption of a child. For more information about adoption and FMLA, contact Sacramento, CA, Thyberg Law. 

What Is the FMLA?

The FMLA is a federal labor law that requires certain employers to provide eligible employees unpaid, job-protected leave for qualifying medical and family related reasons. 

Eligible employees may take up to twelve workweeks off during the course of a year. The employee’s health insurance coverage must continue under the same conditions they were at prior to their unpaid leave. 

Is Adoption a Qualifying Event?

Yes. The FMLA includes the adoption of a child as a qualifying reason for job-protected leave, giving Sacramento parents to newly adopted children important time to bond. 

Under the FMLA, eligible employees have one year from the adoption of their child to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave. 

Unpaid leave under the FMLA may also be used to take time off prior to an adoption’s finalization to take care of matters related to the adoption, such as court hearings or international travel to complete adoption paperwork. 

Who Is Eligible for Leave for an Adoption Under the FMLA?

The FMLA allows for only certain employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave. Eligible employees wanting to take leave for an adoption need to meet the following criteria:

  • Has worked for their employer for at least 12 months
  • Has worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months
  • Has worked at a location where their employer has 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius

Other Considerations

Although employers covered by the FMLA must allow eligible employees to take time off for an adoption, an employee’s leave may not be protected if they fail to provide the proper or necessary documentation or fail to complete paperwork for their leave.  

Additionally, employees taking leave generally need to follow their employer’s policy of requesting leave and it’s helpful to provide advanced notice that they will need to take time off for their child’s adoption. If the exact dates are unknown, an estimated timeline may suffice. This can help an employer prepare for their employee’s leave and get the necessary paperwork in place. 

With that said, eligible employees should not experience retaliation or be denied leave for an adoption. Employers who do not comply may be held accountable through legal action.

Schedule a Consultation with Thyberg Law

If you believe you were wrongly denied leave or have other questions or concerns about the FMLA and job-protected leave for an adoption, call our Sacramento based law firm at (916) 204-9173 to schedule a consultation.

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