This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 20, 1999

Adoption Support Increasing?

164 days until January 1, 2000

There's a rising interest in adoption of children. Employers are beginning to offer more support for employees who adopt children, placing them on parity with employees who acquire children by the more traditional birth process. To help employees through the sometimes tedious adoption process, some companies are funding legal expenses and time off for trips to make arrangements and bring children home. Employers' support of family leave provisions allows both new parents some time off to get acclimated to the new child, regardless of the child's age.

Now, we're seeing some legislative recognition of this adoption support movement. Beginning July 1, Maryland employers that provide paid leave to employees following the birth of a child must provide the same benefit to new adoptive parents. This act is evidence of a growing movement toward work-life balance, the stronger work support of non-work life.

Observers of related trends suggest that today's working women would rather adopt an instant family than go through the nine month gestation process and at least another couple of months of adjustment time after birth. Giving birth is too disruptive to their career flow.

From another perspective, we believe workers will want to spend more time with their children, both natural and adopted. This tendency will be particularly prevalent among younger parents who missed the level of family activity they would have liked during their growing up years. These "latch-key" kids, raised by working parents, want to give their children something better than what they got during their childhood. The cycles continue.

Watch for more people to work at home, during time traditionally thought of as personal, to balance "work time" being invested in family responsibilities. The concept of the 9-5 work day is being supplanted by a much longer day that consists of shifting back and forth between work and "life" experiences, in both work and home settings. We anticipate people working in the employment space for part of the day, going home to be with children, then working at home on company responsibilities later in the day and/or evening as an expected flexible employment plan.

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