More companies help parents adopt

As corporations extend more socially conscious benefits to employees, adoption assistance is becoming the norm, not the exception.

According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse in Washington, more companies believe employees who want to adopt should receive financial benefits similar to those enjoyed by biological parents.

They also say that since few workers use the benefits, costs to the company are low. One survey showed that only 2 percent of employees use the adoption benefit.

Employees are partially reimbursed (usually about 80 percent) for specific expenses. The most frequently covered costs are adoption fees, court costs, and legal fees. Some newer plans also cover medical costs, temporary foster-care charges, transportation costs, and pregnancy expenses for the birth mother.

Here's what a few companies are offering:

*Subaru of America last month began offering $5,000 for adoption-related expenses.

*Bank of America gives employees up to $4,000 for expenses.

*Wendy's International also pays up to $4,000 per adoption, provided employees have worked for the company one year and participate in the company's Group Insurance Program. Wendy's will reimburse up to $6,000 if a child with special needs is adopted.

*Tom's of Maine, a maker of personal-care products located in Kennebunk, Maine, offers five weeks of paid leave for employees who adopt.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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