A friend has informed me that my former employer, Nelnet (NYSE: NNI) will be adding adoption benefits starting in January 2012. And not just benefits – EXCELLENT adoption benefits, ones that all companies should aspire to provide for their employees:
- Financial assistance up to $7,000 per child to help cover adoption expenses including legal & court costs, agency fees, and travel expenses.
- Five weeks of paid leave to allow proper bonding with the adopted child.
Wow. Very, very impressive and well above what most companies do (and no, I’m not talking about the majority of companies who do absolutely nothing*). These are some top-notch benefits and it would not surprise me at all to see Nelnet recognized as an Adoption Friendly Workplace by the Dave Thomas Foundation.
*And seriously, what is the deal with companies who do not offer adoption benefits?? Aside from the correcting the obvious wrong of adoptive parents not getting any of (or as much of) the time off granted to biological parents, adoption benefits are an ideal thing for a company to add to their benefits package. Why? They are: a) not used all that often, making them b) relatively cheap to offer, but c) the company can accurately say they are family friendly.
Why am I mentioning these benefits? Aside from giving proper and public recognition to Nelnet, I am proud to have played a role in getting these benefits added. At the last all-company meeting, I submitted a question for the CEO asking if adoption benefits could be added. In my question, I included links to the Dave Thomas Foundation and a couple of other articles citing what I stated above: adoption benefits are cheap for a company to add, and the goodwill received from employees and prospective employees cannot be beat. It was that truly that simple. And while credit should go to Nelnet for listening to their employees, the message I would like to share is this:
It is very easy to ask your employer to add or increase their adoption benefits, but that simple act can have a dramatic impact on the lives of an adoptive family and especially the adopted child.
Even if you are not planning to adopt, push your employer to add adoption benefits. The cost is small, but the reward is great.