Alabama Passes New Parental Leave Law

On April 15, the governor of Alabama signed Senate Bill 31, entitled the “Adoption Promotion Act.” The new law, which provides a leave of absence for birth and adoptive parents, goes into effect July 1, 2022, and contains the following provisions: 

Reason for Leave: Eligible employees are entitled to leave for: 

  • the birth and care of a child born to that employee during the first year after the child’s birth; and 
  • 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 also provides that requests for additional family leave due to the adoption of an ill child or a child with a disability shall be considered on the same basis as comparable cases of complications accompanying the birth of a child of an employee. 

Amount and Type of Leave: Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The leave runs concurrently with FMLA leave. The law also states that employers are not required to provide additional leave if the employee has exhausted their FMLA leave. Leave may not be taken intermittently unless the employee and the employer agree. 

Eligible Employee: Employees who are eligible under the FMLA are also eligible under the Adoption Promotion Act; employees must have been employed by their employer for at least 12 months prior to the leave and have worked for at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period. 

Covered Employer: Employers covered by the FMLA are also covered by the Adoption Promotion Act; employers employ 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. 

Employee Notice: When the necessity for leave is foreseeable based on an expected placement of a child with an employee in connection with an adoption, the employee, before the date the leave is to begin, must provide his or her employer with at least 30 days’ notice of the employee’s intention to take the leave. If the date of placement requires leave to begin in less than 30 days, the employee must provide notice as is practicable. 

Parity with Benefits for a Child by Birth: An employer who provides paid leave to an employee for the birth and care of a child by birth must also 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 in connection with adoption during the first year after the placement of the child with the employee. An employer is only required to provide these paid leave benefits to one of two different eligible employees if both employees would be using the benefits for the care of a child placed for adoption with both employees. 

Job Protection: An employer may not penalize an employee for exercising the rights provided by this section. 

What is FINEOS doing to prepare?  

FINEOS is making changes to its product to add the Alabama parental leave. By investing in modern, agile absence management systems like the cloud-based FINEOS Platform, insurance carriers will be able to respond quickly to changes in legislation and remain in compliance.   

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