Absence for Adoption and Foster Care

The following options may be considered for Federal employees undergoing placement of a child through adoption or foster care:

1. Federal employees may invoke their entitlement to leave without pay under the Family and Medical Leave Act for the placement of a child through adoption or foster care. In these instances, the employee's entitlement to leave under the Act expires 12 months from the date of the adoption or placement. As is the case for all FMLA leave, an employee is generally entitled to be restored to the same (or equivalent) position he or she held when the leave began.

Supervisors who have an employee who is interested in this special leave provision, should contact their servicing Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) for further guidance.

2. Under 5 CFR 630.401, an employee can use their available sick leave for purposes relating to the adoption of a child. While this provision does not list all of the circumstances in which use of sick leave would be appropriate (adoption procedures and requirements differ among jurisdictions and adoption agencies), sick leave is generally justified for actions necessary to allow an adoption to proceed. For example, if an adoption agency or court orders or requires adoptive parent(s) to take a specific period of time off to care for the child, sick leave may be granted. However, sick leave is not justified if adoptive parent(s) wish, on their own, to remain at home to bond with the child.

3. In addition to approving any annual leave, sick leave, and/or leave without pay, supervisors may grant advance annual and/or sick leave to employees, for adoption related purposes.

Content last reviewed: 7/28/2009-JPF

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This page was last revised: 1/24/2011