This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

June 17, 1998:

Adoption Policies Gaining Acceptance

For years employers have provided hospitalization and major medical coverage that include pregnancy benefits. Want to have a child? Your employer (at least indirectly) will pay for the costs attendant with birth.

For various reasons, many working couples now want to adopt children. Employers, eager to provide benefits that will attract and hold competent workers, are beginning to offer benefit packages pay adoption costs similarly to paying birth costs.

According to a study by Hewitt Associates, nearly 23 percent of US companies offered some kind of adoption benefit in 1996. That’s a significant increase from 12 percent in 1990. The National Adoption Center, Philadelphia, reports that a number of businesses offer higher reimbursements to employees who adopt siblings, children with special needs and/or disabilities, and other difficult-to-place children.

Patagonia, a manufacturer of outdoor wear in Ventura, California, provides eight weeks of paid leave for new parents, including adopting parents, followed by eight weeks of unpaid leave. Childcare is available as the parents return to work. As we observe in our new book, "Lean & Meaningful," Patagonia views this benefit as a smart business investment. They calculate hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings in turnover costs as a result of these policies.

Also highlighted in our book is a survey by the National Council for Adoption that revealed that not all corporate adoption benefits include financial reimbursements. Some companies simply provide time off. We’ll continue to see a range of approaches to supporting workers desiring to adopt children.

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