Making adoption pay fair

(26 Posts)
tea4two4three Fri 18-Oct-13 10:37:23

Hello, as with many others i'm a newbie on mumsnet (although i often read the funny links others send around).
My husband and i are currently going through the adoption process, and so far so good. The one frustration i have come across is that my place of work only provides SAP. The company maternity policy is really good and i'm gutted that they seem to be placing a value on a maternal child, over an adopted one.
I want to challenge them on this and was wondering if anyone else had done the same and had any success? I have asked my union rep to become involved and have full support of my management, but they don't think there is much hope as it will have to include a change in policy which will have to go to the board for approval and this is at a time when they are doing everything they can to make savings.
No other woman in the company has adopted before so there is nothing to go on. The only other person who has is male and took the standard paternity.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks

Oopse, should have read your post above!!! Just realised all respolved but maybe my advice will help someone esle!

By moral high ground I mean it is hard to justify paying one set of parents more than another. I think that the 'reason' it was different was to do with the medical side of birth. Being in hospital etc. But that is quite arbitory, I had a really diffcult birth with mine and was in the hospital 11 days, a friend was out and shopping the next day! But all adoptive parents are probably advised to take a year off if they can or at least 6 months and adoptive parents don't know how well they will be able to bond at attach to their children so time off is possibly even more important. My birth dd was in a nursery at 8 months two days a week. Not sure if I will be able to do that (or will wish to do that) with new little one.

tea4two4three my work place did not match adoption pay to maternity pay. I was not necessarily keen to make a fuss but (silly old me!) but a collegue and friend was and asked me to contribute. Together we put together a proposal that went to the management. The key items were that our company is a charity and so we wanted to pull on the heartstrings legitimately because our company has an ethical image, also the future looks like the pay will equalise and so our organisation didn't have to do too much to come into line with it a bit early. There were two of us, but we were the first two in I don't know how long, and we may be the only two for ages and ages so in terms of cold hard cash our company will lose little in real terms. We also emphasised that it as the right thing to do (in our opinion) and I think the moral high ground is a good place to be! But be careful not to overplay that side of it!

Kewcumber Wed 05-Feb-14 21:40:37

hurrah!

tea4two4three Wed 05-Feb-14 20:41:41

Hey, just a quick update to say that my request for the my workplace adoption policy to be matched to maternity has been approved by the board. Phew! Pretty delighted with the decision grin

Got home tonight and there was a message from our SW asking us to consider foster-to-adopt which would make all of the above irrelevant. Now to try and figure out if our places of work would entertain letting us take unpaid leave to do this and currently have my calculator out trying to figure out the financial implications. It never blimmin ends.

Why is this taking so long to come in! It's is totally wrong that this is not law now!

I wonder whether there are any petitions about this. Anyone know of any?

Surely if the government wants to 'promote' adoption this would be one way of showing how much it is valued as a route to parenting!

MyFeetAreCold Tue 22-Oct-13 11:33:37

Oh thanks for posting. Glad I didn't imagine it.

Would it be churlish to mention that 6 days and two days off wouldn't really work for attending the 4 day training course that was mandatory for both partners in a couple for our agency? And that's only for the prep course - never mind the home study...)

tea4two4three Tue 22-Oct-13 11:00:49

I found this today:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/88476/13-619-modern-workplaces-shared-parental-leave-and-pay-administration-consultation.pdf

* It looks like adoption pay will increase to 90% of pay for the first 6 weeks in-line with maternity pay
* Parents-to-be will be given paid days off to attend pre-adoption appointments/training (limited to 6 days for one person and 2 for the other if they are a couple)
* For those who have not been with their employer for more than 26 weeks they will still be able to adopt with same conditions as maternity pay

However this won't be official policy until 2015 although they hope to have passed it by mid 2014. At least they are doing something positive about it and future adopters won't have to worry about these things.

MyFeetAreCold Sat 19-Oct-13 18:57:42

I would think too that the fact they have an enhanced mat policy would/could/should give weight to the equality argument.

If they were only offering statutory min for mat, they could argue that statutory min for adoption is okay too. It's not their fault after all that the law is bad.

tea4two4three Sat 19-Oct-13 18:21:12

Hi all, thanks for your responses and supportive comments on this, I don't know whether I should feel encouraged and hopeful, or disappointed that my place of work haven't considered it.

I think like Oink suggested they have basically copied and pasted from the .gov website. What I can now do is go back and show how companies from around the uk have either improved this or matched it to their mat policy. I'm nothing if not a fighter so I'm not going to make it easy on them.

When I was looking into the discrimination argument I found a paragraph on an official website which said "although this may seem unfair it is not a form of discrimination." It blatantly is! If someone official says it isn't so does that make it the right answer?! Maybe my next move should be to get into politics. I am defiantly going to highlight this discrepancy to both my local mp and the children's minister who I believe is Edward Timpson.

I'll let you know how I get on, but I can't say I'm hopeful.

OinkGlitter Sat 19-Oct-13 17:05:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 16:54:48

That is awful. I would actually consider writing to your MP and say that you can't believe that companies discriminate like this

Well up until recently (although I too can;t find the evidence that it has actually changed) the government itself maintained the same differentiation so I can;t imagine that your MP will have the moral high ground!

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 16:53:19

I agree Piffy - I have never yet worked in a company (in 25 years) where a single other person has adopted before or after me (although possibly in other branches of the same company someweher else) its hardly like there's a big rush of people to adopt is there confused

Its like excluding intercountry adopted childrne from some things that domestically adopted childrne get (wlthough arguably that is against the Hague COnvention where we agreed to treat all childrne from whereever they adopted with the same duty of care). Some local authorites won't even see 1 case of ICA in a year - its not like it a flood that needs to be managed!

Piffyonarock Sat 19-Oct-13 16:49:27

I don't understand why companies feel the need to write two separate policies considering how few members of their workforce are likely to adopt, it's just ludicrous. I was fortunate enought to get the same as mat leave when we adopted DS, but we've struggled for my DH to get readonable treatment from his workplace.

Mind you, I nearly lost my job - I went in to tell my line manager about our match, who had been very supportive while we got approved, and she told HR to advertise my job because she thought I was just leaving! I had to hastily explain that I ought to be due Adoption Leave like Mat Leave, it didn't mean I was resigning, and she had to get back onto HR to stop them!

Hels20 Sat 19-Oct-13 10:25:33

As a thought - I wonder if they have the distinction so that if e.g a person adopted their partner's child - that doesn't qualify.

I would hope otherwise that they will acquiesce and roll over on this.

Hels20 Sat 19-Oct-13 10:21:56

Are you sure that having a difference between mat pay and adoption pay is not illegal? I don't know any other company that has made this distinction.

That is awful. I would actually consider writing to your MP and say that you can't believe that companies discriminate like this. The government is so keen to find new adopters.

Outrageous to make the distinction.

TeenAndTween Fri 18-Oct-13 21:00:07

Quite a few years ago now, I wrote a letter to my HR department (large multinational company) pointing out the discrepancies between their adoption pay (statutory minimum) and maternity pay (significantly beter than statutory minimum). I think I may have used a sentence such as 'potentially discriminatory against those who for reasons of sexuality or medical reasons form their family another way'.

Anyway, they reviewed policy and brought Adoption stuff in line with Maternity/Paternity. And were very good regarding flexible time off for intros to 3 husbands adoptiong too.

fossil971 Fri 18-Oct-13 20:06:17

Good luck. I work at a company that is well known for its generous maternity provisions, 7 years on they still have no adoption leave policy. I was very fortunate that a senior manager authorised a one off decision to effectively match the maternity provision in my case, but that was before the recession. I pointed it out again recently, it's still "in progress" apparently.

OP I think your strongest case would be if comparable companies/employers were known to have a matched policy - our company benchmarks its benefits against others in the industry. I'm obviously the only mum in the entire industry to have adopted a child hmm

I wonder if you could simply phone round some HR departments of your major competitors?

MyFeetAreCold Fri 18-Oct-13 19:57:07

I thought it was changing next year to come in line with SMP, but I can't find any evidence of that. Have I imagined it (based on obvious fairness)?

Kewcumber Fri 18-Oct-13 18:06:27

I think its outrageous that statutory adoption pay is not 90% of average salary for the first 6 week. Absolutely outrageous.

How can private employers be expected to be fair when the government isn't?

MyFeetAreCold Fri 18-Oct-13 16:28:38

When I first asked my company about it, their policy pretty much matched the statutory minimum. By the time I'd actually been to matching panel and started talking to them more concretely about things, they came back to me and had revised their policy to make it match their mat policy. I think it's still fairly close to statutory minimum for mat, so they've not gone totally to town with it, but someone with HR must have decided it was unfair.

I think probably they'd just never had to deal with adoption leave before. Anyway, this is a huge, privately owned international company, so no board to get it past, but not public/charity/academic either.

I'd ask nicely and cross your fingers.

Andro Fri 18-Oct-13 15:04:01

Adoption pay matches mat pay here and divisional managers (people like me) have significant autonomy and can authorize up to a months paternity leave on full pay (2 weeks @ full pay is standard here, anything else is in the hands of your divisional manager) for adoption or bio.

Hayleyh34 Fri 18-Oct-13 12:26:12

Agree that it's important to not stamp feet but would think that they would need to explain why there is a difference between the 2 policies.

If it helps at all, I work in the Charity Sector and my employer at the time and every one I have had since (3) had equal policies.

Good luck!

tea4two4three Fri 18-Oct-13 12:20:57

Hi Hayleyh34, thanks for replying. Most other people i have spoken with so far have said the same about their place of work matching it, although they have mainly been LA or University workers, whereas i work in a different sector. I don't want to start spitting my dummy and stamping my feet that it's just not fair, if in fact it's what most people experience, i was just taken-aback at the difference between the two policies when surely the need is the same?

I have a meeting with my union rep on Tuesday to try and pull together a case for the board which is why i'm looking for examples where others have succeeded.

Hayleyh34 Fri 18-Oct-13 10:45:05

That's awful. My adoption pay matched maternity pay. I would certainly have a discussion with management and I would want to know on what basis is adoption pay different to maternity.

It could just be that they have never got around to updating their policy?

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