adoptive parents

Adoptive Parents’ Employment Rights in New Jersey

By Tom McKinney
NJ Employment Attorney

Adoption is one of the most impactful and fulfilling choices a parent can make. Every adoptive parent knows that their children are just as much theirs as biological children would have been — but can they trust their employers to honor that? 

New Jersey law affords certain rights and protections to adoptive parents in the workplace. If you believe that your employer has taken advantage of your rights and protections as an adoptive parent, it’s important to seek legal counsel. 

Your employer may be breaking the law by refusing to approve your adoption leave or withholding adoption leave pay. 

Is New Jersey family leave job-protected?

The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) applies to the following employers:

  • State government agencies
  • Local government agencies
  • Companies and organizations with 30 or more employees worldwide (provided that the company has employed you for at least one year, during which you worked a minimum of 1,000 hours)

If your job is covered by the NJFLA, the law mandates that your employer allow you to take up to three months of job-protected leave during any two-year period. 

You might choose to take this leave for any number of reasons, including the following:

  • Caring for a family member or close relative with a severe health condition
  • Providing care or treatment for a child if their place of care is closed due to any kind of public health emergency
  • Caring for or bonding with a child, provided that the leave begins within one year of the child’s birth, adoption placement, or foster care placement 

You can see that the NJFLA offers the same protections to adoptive parents as it does to biological parents. 

New Jersey employees protected by the NJFLA can take a 12-week block of consecutive leave. They can also take leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule. 

Adoptive Parents’ Rights in the Workplace

Both men and women have the right to take NJFLA leave to bond with their child. New parents have the same right to take NJFLA leave to bond with adoptive children as they do to bond with biological children.

The law requires you to notify your employer as soon as possible when you hope to take leave. The employer must then inform you whether you are eligible for leave within five days of your request. 

Does the law require you to inform your employer that you are adopting a child?

While no federal or state law requires an employee to inform their employer that they are adopting a child, the wisest choice is usually to inform your employer sooner rather than later. 

When you adopt a child, you will be subject to home studies and dossiers. These almost always require a letter from your employer stating that you are employed in good standing and that your employment is secure. 

Contact NJ Employment Lawyers Today

Adoption can be a difficult and expensive process, but it’s worth it every step of the way. Adoptive parents are essential to communities across the U.S. — that’s why there are federal and state protections for adoptive parents’ rights in the workplace. 

Whether you’re seeking maternity leave, adoption leave, or foster care placement leave, you deserve the opportunity to spend time with your child. The dedicated team of attorneys at NJ Employment Lawyers wants to help protect your rights as an adoptive parent and as an employee. 

If you aren’t sure whether your employer has violated your workplace rights as an adoptive parent, contact NJ Employment Lawyers today. Our attorneys will walk you through the legal complexities of adoptive parents’ workplace rights and help you decide how to move forward. 

About the Author
Tom McKinney is a skilled employment law attorney with New Jersey Employment Lawyers LLC. He has a track record of success in all areas of employment law, including sexual harassment, discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, whistleblower claims and hostile work environment claims. Besides litigation, Tom handles severance agreements and severance package reviews/negotiations for over 100 people each year. If you have any questions regarding this blog, contact Tom here.