Alabama’s Governor, Kay Ivey signed the “Adoption Promotion Act” (SB 31) into effect on July 1, 2022, requiring qualified employers throughout the state to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for both the birth or care of a child during the first year after the child’s birth, or placement of an adopted child with the employee. If an employer provides any form of paid leave for the birth of a child, they must also extend this to adoptive parents.
Here’s what Alabama employers need to know:
Covered Employers & Employees: The new law mirrors the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in that coverage under the Adoption Promotion Act applies only to employers with 50 or more employees. Employees are eligible for family leave under the new law if they have both completed at least 12 months of employment and worked at least 1,250 hours during this period.
Leave Requirements: Covered employers are not required to offer more than the 12 weeks of unpaid family leave; however, any request for additional family leave due to the adoption of an ill child or a child with a disability, must be considered on the same basis as in similar cases of complications accompanying the birth of a child.
Leave must be taken within one year of the birth or placement of the child and runs concurrently with any federally mandated leave. Leave may not be taken intermittently unless otherwise agreed upon between the employer and the employee.
Retaliation Prohibited: Covered employers are prohibited, as with the federal FMLA, to penalize eligible employees (e.g., through demotions, discipline, or termination) for exercising their right to take leave for the birth of a child born to that employee during the first year after the child’s birth, or to care for a child placed with the employee within one year of placement.
Leave Notice Requirements: When the leave is foreseeable based on an expected placement of a child in connection with an adoption, the employee must provide at least 30 days’ notice of their intent to take the leave. If the date of placement requires leave to begin in less than 30 days, the employee must provide as much notice as is practical.
Payment During Leave: The law does not require the leave to be paid. However, if Alabama employers have an established paid parental leave benefit or any other paid leave benefits available to employees for the birth and care of a child born to the employee, the new law dictates that this paid leave benefit must also be made available to employees who have adopted a child for care during the first year after placement of the child, up to a maximum of 2 weeks paid leave. If the employer’s policy is less than 2 weeks of paid leave, then only that amount is mandated.
In addition, if two employees working for the same company are eligible for these paid leave benefits due to the placement of the same child for adoption, the employer need only provide paid benefits to one of the two employees.
Alabama employers must now ensure they comply with Alabama’s expanded state family leave benefits by reviewing their current leave policies and adopting the appropriate revisions that comply with the new law. Employers should also consider updating existing handbooks to ensure compliance, taking steps to educate their HR Professionals and managers on the new law, and communicate the new leave entitlements to eligible employees.
- Adoption Promotion Act SB 31
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