Maternity Leave and Adoption – What You Need to Know


Parental leave for adoption can, unfortunately, be confusing. It can help to understand the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and the two types of time off it stipulates:

  • “Maternity leave” or family leave is the time you spend caring for your baby after he or she arrives. All employers with more than 50 employees must grant new parents an unpaid 12 weeks away from work — this includes adoption maternity leave or adoption paternity leave. However, you must have been working with that company for at least one year and 1,250 hours to be eligible for unpaid time off.
  • Maternity disability, or medical leave, is the period of time after birth in which a woman is unable to work after she recuperates from giving birth. For a normal vaginal delivery, this is usually six weeks. For an uncomplicated C-section, it’s closer to eight. The same stipulations apply to receive unpaid time off to recover, so a birth mom would need to have been at her current job for at least one year and 1,250 hours.

So, if you are a hopeful adoptive parent or prospective birth mother, you do have adoption leave rights so long as your company is large enough and you have been there long enough. You can begin your unpaid leave before your baby is born if you wish, which can be helpful for families who have to travel between states and meet ICPC guidelines.

In essence, though, a company’s adoption leave policy comes down to the company itself. A few businesses that offer exceptional adoption leave rights are:

  • Netflix. New parents can take as much paid time off as they wish during the first year after their child is born or adopted.
  • Twitter. Birth moms can receive up to 20 weeks of paid time off, while adoptive parents and other parents receive 10 weeks of PTO to bond.
  • Facebook and Instagram. New parents can use 17 weeks of paid parental leave, which can be used immediately or within the first year.
  • Microsoft. All parents get 12 weeks of paid leave, and birth moms can take an additional eight. Birth moms can also go on short-term disability for two weeks after their due date.
  • Google. Birth moms get 18 weeks of paid leave. Primary caregivers receive 12 weeks.
  • Bank of America. New parents receive 12 weeks of paid parental leave and 14 weeks of unpaid.

How does your company handle maternity leave and adoption?

Comments 1

  1. It was helpful when you explained that all women who give birth are eligible for maternity leave. My sister is pregnant and wants to use unplanned pregnancy services to give the baby up for adoption. I’ll have to show her the info you shared here so she can talk to her employer about medical leave.

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