Your rights as adoptive parents

When a couple gives birth to a biological baby, it is normal for one or both of the parents to take at least a few weeks of leave to build a bond, heal from labor and nurture their new addition. This right is protected under the Family Medical Leave Act, which requires employers to allow parents to take unpaid leave, at minimum.

As adoptive parents, it is still important to have those first initial weeks to simply focus on the new child, get into a routine, bond together and nurture the family. This time is often very emotional and can be challenging. For this reason, the same Family Medical Leave Act that protects the rights of biological parents postpartum protects you, an adoptive parents, as well.

The Family Medical Leave Act requires your employer to provide you with leave while you are in the process of adopting your child, as well as post adoption — as long as participants meet the minimum criteria. Most employers are happy to work with their employees who are adoptive parents and give them this valuable leave despite the FMLA.

Some Wisconsin employers are not so willing to provide leave to adoptive parents, if anyone. Though this may be a major stressor for many families, the Family Medical Leave Act is the law and protects your right to family leave during the adoption process. If you are denied this right and feel that you qualify for protection under the FMLA, speaking to an experienced attorney.

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