List Highlights Best Workplaces for Adoptive Parents

Adoption assistance benefits show that all families are valued

Stephen Miller, CEBS By Stephen Miller, CEBS September 19, 2016
List Highlights Best Workplaces for Adoptive Parents

What does it take to be considered the U.S. workplace with the best policies for child adoption?

Ferring Pharmaceuticals in Parsippany, N.J., offers its employees up to five weeks of paid leave and reimbursement of up to $25,000 in expenses related to an adoption. In addition, adoption counseling resources are available through the company's employee assistance program.

Those benefits helped the company land in the top spot on the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption's 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list.

"We feel strongly that we should assist individuals to realize their dream of having a family, whether it occurs biologically or through adoption," said Karen Gehrig, Ferring's associate director of compensation.

Since 2007, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has compiled an annual list of the top adoption-friendly workplaces. Companies across the country, from a wide range of industries, submit applications for consideration. The foundation also has launched an adoption-friendly workplace website to help employers and job seekers compare companies' adoption policies. And it provides resources to help business to become adoption-friendly workplaces.

"We're committed to dramatically increasing the number of adoptions from foster care and commend all employers who support families—especially those that grow their families through adoption," said Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the foundation.

There are more than 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care system waiting to be adopted, according to the foundation. Every year, more than 23,000 children in foster care age out of the system without families.

This year's 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces represent small and large companies across the country, including Abbott, Brooks Brothers, Caribou Coffee, Citizens Bank, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Domino's Pizza, HanesBrands, Kohl's, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft Corporation, Nestlé USA, New York University, Snapchat, TCG, The Coca-Cola Company, Ultimate Fighting Championship and Zappos, among others (view the full list here).

The Wendy's Company of Columbus, Ohio, was honored with an emeritus status to recognize its long-term and continued commitment to adoption benefits.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Adoption Assistance Benefits]

To Be Among the Best

Adoption-friendly workplaces are determined by an analysis of financial assistance and paid leave for families who adopt, based on surveys completed by employers. Employers offered financial reimbursement ranging from $0 to $25,000, and a maximum of18 weeks of paid leave. Unpaid leave for adoption, beyond what the Family and Medical Leave Act provides, ranged from zero weeks to three years.

This year's applicants offered an average of $8,000 in adoption assistance and five weeks of paid leave.

For qualified adoption assistance programs, the maximum amount excludable from federal income tax withholding in 2017—for reimbursements related to the adoption of a child, limited to necessary and reasonable expenses—is $13,570, up from $13,460 in 2016. The excludible amount phases out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income that exceeds certain levels. 

Related SHRM Articles:

Facebook, Coca-Cola, Braun Medical Offer Paid Parental Leave Tips, SHRM Online Benefits, October 2016

Adoption Benefits Can Generate Employee Good Will at Low Cost, HR Magazine, September 2013



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