Alabama has passed the Adoption Promotion Act, requiring employers that provide paid leave for biological parents to offer paid leave to adoptive parents as well. The law also mandates unpaid leave for biological and adoptive parents covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The law takes effect on July 1, 2022.
The new law applies to covered employers and eligible employees under the FMLA.
Amount of Leave
Under the law, employers that provide paid leave for the birth and care of children born to employees must also provide equivalent paid leave or two weeks’ paid leave, whichever is less, for the care of children placed with employees for adoption during the first year after placement.
In addition, covered employers are required to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid family leave for the birth and care of a child born to or placed for adoption with an employee during the first year after the child’s birth or placement which would run concurrent with FMLA leave. Employers must consider requests for additional family leave due to the adoption of an ill or disabled child on the same basis as they would for the birth of a biological child to an employee. However, employers are not required to provide leave beyond the employee’s FMLA entitlement (12 workweeks).
If the employer and employee agree to it, leave may be taken intermittently. When two adoptive parents of the same child work for one employer, the employer is required to provide the leave only to one of the parents.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers should consider updating any policies or procedures that may be affected by this leave and consider including a policy in their employee handbook. Employers should also ensure that all human resource personnel and managers who have responsibilities for addressing leave requests related to adoption have been trained on available leave options and procedures.