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Q: Parenting Leave Best in Class

I am looking at my firm's parenting leave policy and I am not sure how to handle a policy that I think isn't entirely equitable. I am gay, and my boyfriend and I are looking to adopt an infant. The policy, however, is very focused on mothers/fathers and the leave policy for adoptive/foster parents is pretty thin. My presumption is that I would need as much time as a biological mother of a new born to stay home, bond with the child, and provide the intense level of care needed.

Where can I find research on best-in-class, or LGBT friendliest, parenting leave policies?

A: Response from Will Halm

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I was out of the country and traveling for work for 3 weeks.

Very briefly - The FMLA allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for an employee who has been employed for at least a year and who has worked at least 1250 hours in the preceding 12 months (the 12 months of employment don't have to be continuous). FMLA leave is allowed, as relevant here, for:

* The birth and care of the employee's newborn child; and

* The placement with the employee of a foster or adopted child.

The FMLA protects the employee's job during the leave period, at the end of which an employer must return the employee to her or his original job or its equivalent. If covered employers provided group health insurance to an employee before the employee went on FMLA leave, the FMLA requires that the employer continue providing that coverage on the same terms while the employee is on FMLA leave. Employees who paid a share of the health insurance prior to FMLA leave must make arrangements to continue paying this share while on leave.

Some employers will allow an employee to take parental leave on an intermittent or reduced-schedule basis. When this is the case, parental leave must be completed before the newborn child's first birthday or before the end of the first year of the adopted or foster child's initial placement. If both Intended Parents work for the same employer, they will need to divide the 12 weeks of bonding time between the two of them. An employer is not required to approve separate 12-week periods for both of its employees when the parental bonding is for a healthy newborn or newly placed child.

Hope this helps. But for more detail on this I would suggest you reach out to attorney Cynthia E. Fruchtman. She practices family formation law and Labor law....and often refers to her practice as being in the area of Labor and Labor! You'll find her very informative - in fact my answer above is directly from her when this very question was recently presented by someone else in your situation.

LAW OFFICES OF CYNTHIA E. FRUCHTMAN 2530 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 310 Santa Monica, CA 90403 ph: (310) 829-0678 fax: (310) 829-5923 cell: (310) 387-8791 text: (424) 213-6252

Good luck!

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Cliff Greenberg

Cliff Greenberg

Presented by the Center

Cliff Greenberg, Esq, has devoted his entire legal career to helping children and families. After graduating from the George Washington University School of Law, he joined the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Division in Manhattan as a Law Guardian, where he worked tirelessly to ensure that the city's foster children were protected and placed in loving, permanent homes.
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Joyce Kauffman

Joyce Kauffman

Joyce Kauffman is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in December 1992. She has a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology from Lesley College (now Lesley University) and a Bachelor's degree in Child Development from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Attorney Kauffman is also a trained Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer; the focus of her legal practice, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is LGBT family law and traditional family law.
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Richard B. Vaughn

Richard B. Vaughn

At International Fertility Law Group (IFLG), Richard B. Vaughn provides legal services nationwide to clients from all over the world hoping to build their families through assisted reproduction as well. Among many other volunteer activities, Rich Chairs the A.R.T. Committee of the ABA Family Law Section. Rich has also served on the National Board of the American Fertility Association (now Path 2 Parenthood).
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