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Time off for adoption prep(10 Posts)
If I were pregnant, both me and my partner would get paid time off work for medical appointments. His employer also gives time off for ante natal classes (not a legal requirement I know).
Because we are adopting, there is a lot more time than this which has to be committed before approval, for adoption training days and social worker visits. It is not a choice like antenatal classes are; we have to keep all these appointments in order to get approved. How have you managed this? Is there a form of words that has worked to persuade employers to give paid time off for all these appointments?
Also, is anyone campaigning for equal rights in the adoption process, compared to the rights of people having a birth child? Which are: "Employers must give pregnant employees time off for antenatal care and pay their normal rate for this time off. The father or pregnant woman’s partner has the right to unpaid time off work to go to 2 antenatal appointments."
Have you checked with your employer? My company allows 5 paid days a year to attend anything adoption related, we were lucky though in that our pre group was mostly evenings and I only had to use one day of my leave for prep.
There is a statutory allowance which equates to 5 x 6.5 hour days fir the principal carer and two appointments for the second adopter but I think it relates to post approval meetings, e.g. matching, intros etc. The prep time I covered by working flexibly with a very accommodating employer and my husband negotiated an early finish with his employer.
I think those timescales are broadly in line with maternity provision while not reflecting the interviews etc needed to go through the approval process itself.
You're both quite right, 5 appointments of up to 6.5 hours. That just about covers the 5 training days in Stages 1 & 2 (although technically I should go back to work after each training as my working day is longer than 6.5 hours).
And yes, that is broadly similar to maternity where you'd get time off for scans etc.
I'm concerned about the rest though. I've already taken 2 x half days off for social worker visits, and we're only at the end of Stage 1. I'm told we will need a further 8 appointments during Stage 2, then approval panel, then whatever is involved in finding a match and any additional training days we choose to do. Adoption leave can only start once a match is found and you've agreed to it. I'll have no annual leave left! Maybe I'll contract a dreadful winter cold for a few days... ;-)
I didn't get my training days covered because the statutory provision only covered me after approval so yes, everything else was flexible working, annual leave etc and I just needed to plan accordingly. Given how long and involved the process is, and how uncertain, it's reasonable that there's a limit to paid leave for appointments. In my case the whole process took 4.5 years and I changed employees half way through. I don't think it's reasonable to expect employers to provide paid leave for the whole thing.
Have you asked your SW if they can do any of their visits in the evening? Or I doubled up on some of the visit, so a visit in morning lunch break and then an afternoon visit. Meant twice as much to prep but less hols used.
We used AL for a lot of it. In fact DH used almost all of his on adoption meetings as his company are not even a tiny bit supportive. My work was more flexible.
The days you are legally entitled to are post approval so for all the initial meeting you are not legally entitled to anything.
The argument from social workers typically being that if you can't find/make time for all the prep, where will you find/make time when your child is ill etc.
And I can sort of see their point. But it's a bit of a bummer if you lose income taking unpaid time off, that could benefit the children in the future. However, you need the prep to get the children, so it has to be done. Some employers are better than others, so always ask.
It's not like antenatal appointments, as they are to safeguard the woman, so it's a health and equality issue for women, whereas you're not going to put your health in danger because you missed an adoption meeting.
Even IVF appointments don't come under pregnancy appointments, and therefore equality legislation, until there is a pregnancy. Until then it's sick leave if you're unwell.
There's times when adoption is equivalent to pregnancy/birth. And there's times when it's not. After matching, I think it's right there are protections in place, but adopting isn't pregnancy, it just isn't. It's hard, don't get me wrong! Having done both, OMG, it's hard! But the health implications of pregnancy and birth, and the post natal period just aren't there.
If the placement ends, then you don't get the full leave for adoption, whereas if a woman's baby is stillborn, you do get full mat leave. And that is fine. Equality doesn't mean treating everyone the same.
our training was held over 2 weekends...the sw appointments were a morning or afternoon only, allowing us to return to work afterwards.
panel is 1-2 hours, again returning to work afterwards.
matching - when sw wanted to meet us we scheduled meetings for the end of the day - 3pm ish so it did not eat into our working day too much, and while dh could 'work from home' for a few hours, i made up a few hours when could.
our work knew we were adopting though - no idea how people hide it with all the appointments!
I know of no company that would give a man/father equal time for medical appointments anyway, so dont feel adopters 'miss out' on that score - and i'm a birth mother ....
Can you work flexible hours? Our social worker came round at 7.30am for most of our appointments so we were done by 9/9.30am & could have a normal day at work afterwards albeit starting a little late. She also came over a few Saturdays & evenings.
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