Amid the clamor for more generous maternity/paternity leave and more opportunities for new parents to have greater flexibility in their jobs, employees who plan to (or might) adopt children appear to fare more poorly than their “traditional family” counterparts. So reports the Huffington Post.
Even the most progressive companies seem to skimp on already-skimpy parental leave benefits when the stork comes by way of an agency or foster home, as opposed to a hospital birth. Why is that? One important reason may date to the enactment of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978.
That landmark piece of legislation essentially mandated that pregnancy be given equal consideration under the law to any other “disability” or medical condition. That distinction likely enables employers to partially finance paid leave through disability insurance, but also creates a loophole for penalizing adoptive parents where pregnancy is a non-event.
Of course, decades later, new mothers are lucky if they can stay in a hospital room for more than a blink of an eye after giving birth, while more and more new fathers want to have an equal part in the “bonding” process of adjusting to a new baby.
The need to designate parents as either a “primary” or “secondary” caregiver even poses an ironic twist whereby an adoptive dad could end up with more paid leave than a father whose wife or partner has just given birth. The Huffington Post article author urges companies to foster a more inclusive environment by educating their workforce on the realities of adoptive parenting.