Last week, legislators in Kentucky passed HB 210, which will amend the state’s existing Adoption Leave Law effective June 28, 2021. The law currently requires employers to provide employees with an unpaid leave of absence up to 6 weeks in length when an adoptive child under the age of 7 years old is placed with the employee.
House Bill 210, signed by Governor Beshear on March 23, 2021, will increase the age of adoptive children that can be cared for during qualifying leave, restrict leave eligibility for adoptive parents with certain relationships with the new child, and require employers to match company leave benefits provided to birth parents for adoptive parents covered by the law.
Specific Amendments to the KY Adoption Leave Law
- Age Threshold: the amended law expands employee eligibility by allowing adoptive parents to take this leave to bond with a child under the age of 10 years old. Currently, the law requires the adoptive child to be under the age of 7 years old for the leave to be covered.
- Covered Relationships: the amended law contains new restrictions that exclude from eligibility adoptive parents who are the fictive kin, stepparent, stepsibling, or blood relative (including a relative of half-blood, first cousin, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, and a person of a preceding generation as denoted by prefixes of grand, great, or great-great) of the adoptive child. The law will also exclude from eligibility foster parents who adopt a foster child already in their care.
- Amount of Leave: the minimum duration of leave under the amended law is 6 weeks, unless an employer has an established policy of providing time off to birth parents in an amount greater than 6 weeks. In this circumstance, the minimum period of leave available to adoptive parents under the law is that provided by the employer to birth parents.
- Equivalent Benefits: the amended law requires that adoptive parents be provided “the same type, amount, and duration of paid leave and other benefits” provided to birth parents following birth of a child. This means that not only does an employer need to match leave length, but also pay status and other “benefits,” such as job protection or accrual of seniority or paid time off, that are provided to birth parents during leave.
What employers should do now
- Update adoption leave policies in Kentucky to reflect the changes in the amendment.
- Review current time off policies for birth parents and consider enhancing adoption leave policies covering Kentucky employees to provide equivalent leave length, pay status, and other rights and benefits.
- Update notifications or benefits guides which may refer to the outdated version of the Kentucky Adoption Leave law.
What ReedGroup is doing
ReedGroup continues to offer compliant leave solutions and is working to update its leave management software as required by the amendment. ReedGroup will work with its clients to configure any specific policy updates. Sign up for our blog and webinar email alerts to stay in the loop.
Information provided on this blog is intended for general educational use. It is not intended to provide legal advice. ReedGroup does not provide legal services. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this or any other topic.