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Can You Take FMLA Leave When You Adopt a Child?

April 30, 2021 Family and Medical Leave Act Claims

Adoptive Parents Need Time Off, Too

The Family and Medical Leave Act offers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for various medical and caregiving reasons. One of the qualifying reasons for taking FMLA leave is the birth of a child. But what if you’re adopting a child instead?

The good news is that you can also take FMLA leave when adopting or fostering a child. Here are some relevant details.

What Benefits Does the Family and Medical Leave Act Provide?

If you qualify, you can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. The leave is unpaid, but your health insurance benefits should continue throughout your leave period at the same level as if you had continued to work.

At the end of your leave, your employer must allow you to return to your old job, or an equivalent job at the same level and pay rate.

Who Is Eligible To Use FMLA Leave? 

Qualifying reasons to take FMLA leave include:

  • Recovery from the birth of a child.
  • Bonding with an adopted or foster child placed in your home.
  • Caregiving for an immediate family member with a medical condition.
  • Being unable to work because of your own medical condition.
  • Qualifying issues arising because of an immediate family member’s active duty military status.

You can also get up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave within a single 12-month period to care for a member of the military who has a serious illness or injury.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees generally do not have to provide FMLA leave. In addition, some employees are not eligible for FMLA leave, depending on how many hours they have worked for that employer in the past year.

What Are the Details About FMLA Leave After Adopting a Child? 

Both mothers and fathers are entitled to take FMLA leave to bond with and care for an adopted child.

If you adopt a child, you can take your 12 weeks of leave either all at once or intermittently. The intermittent leave period must occur within 12 months after the child is placed in your home, and is subject to your employer’s approval.

If your adopted child has a serious medical condition, you can also take FMLA leave to care for the child, either on an ongoing or intermittent basis.  

What To Do If Your Employer Denies You Leave You Believe You’re Entitled To

If you are fairly sure you qualify for FMLA leave and your employer is denying it to you, you should speak with a knowledgeable employment lawyer.

Your attorney can assess the situation, determine what you qualify for, and help ensure your employer provides the leave you’re entitled to.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.