Alabama recently passed a new law called the Adoption Promotion Act (APA). This law requires employers to provide employees with 12 weeks of unpaid family leave for the birth and care of a child born to the employee (during the first year after the child’s birth), or for the care of a child placed with the employee in connection with adoption (within one year of the placement of the child with the employee).
The law has the same qualification criteria as FMLA. An eligible employee is one who has worked for the employer for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period. The leave will run concurrently with any other leave provided under federal law (e.g., FMLA). However, the APA is a specific entitlement for parental leave reasons in Alabama, thus an employee who used all their FMLA leave for another FMLA qualify reason in a 12-month period (e.g., family or medical leave reasons), would still have 12 weeks available for parental leave in Alabama.
Leave may be taken due to the adoption of an ill or disabled child and must be considered on the same basis as comparable cases of complications accompanying the birth of a child of an employee. We are not certain on the full intent of this statement within the law and hope that state provides more clarification on this topic.
If an employer provides paid leave to an employee for the birth and care of a child born to the employee, they must provide the lesser of either equivalent paid leave or two-weeks paid leave to an employee for the care of a child placed with the employee for adoption. Nevertheless, we at The Larkin Company always advocate for providing adoptive parents the same balance of leave and/or pay, as birth parents, to ensure an equitable policy and treatment of employees.
If both parents work for the same employer, the employer is only required to provide paid leave benefits to one parent for the care of a child placed for adoption with both employees. We understand that each employee will be eligible for 12 weeks of leave but may be limited to only paid leave for one employee. We are also hoping the state will provide more guidance on this topic.
Leave may be taken intermittently only if the employee and the employer agree. Employees must provide 30 days’ notice for foreseeable leave or as soon as practicable for situations where placement requires leave to begin in less than 30 days.
The law goes into effect on July 1, 2022.