29 CFR 825.121 - Leave for adoption or foster care.
(1) Employees may take FMLA leave before the actual placement or adoption of a child if an absence from work is required for the placement for adoption or foster care to proceed. For example, the employee may be required to attend counseling sessions, appear in court, consult with his or her attorney or the doctor(s) representing the birth parent, submit to a physical examination, or travel to another country to complete an adoption. The source of an adopted child (e.g., whether from a licensed placement agency or otherwise) is not a factor in determining eligibility for leave for this purpose.
(2) An employee's entitlement to leave for adoption or foster care expires at the end of the 12-month period beginning on the date of the placement. If state law allows, or the employer permits, leave for adoption or foster care to be taken beyond this period, such leave will not qualify as FMLA leave. See § 825.701 regarding non-FMLA leave which may be available under applicable State laws. Under this section, the employee is entitled to FMLA leave even if the adopted or foster child does not have a serious health condition.
(3) Spouses who are eligible for FMLA leave and are employed by the same covered employer may be limited to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave during any 12-month period if the leave is taken for the placement of the employee's son or daughter or to care for the child after placement, for the birth of the employee's son or daughter or to care for the child after birth, or to care for the employee's parent with a serious health condition. This limitation on the total weeks of leave applies to leave taken for the reasons specified as long as the spouses are employed by the same employer. It would apply, for example, even though the spouses are employed at two different worksites of an employer located more than 75 miles from each other, or by two different operating divisions of the same company. On the other hand, if one spouse is ineligible for FMLA leave, the other spouse would be entitled to a full 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Where spouses both use a portion of the total 12-week FMLA leave entitlement for either the birth of a child, for placement for adoption or foster care, or to care for a parent, the spouses would each be entitled to the difference between the amount he or she has taken individually and 12 weeks for FMLA leave for other purposes. For example, if each spouse took six weeks of leave to care for a healthy, newly placed child, each could use an additional six weeks due to his or her own serious health condition or to care for a child with a serious health condition.
(4) An eligible employee is entitled to FMLA leave in order to care for an adopted or foster child with a serious health condition if the requirements of §§ 825.113 through 825.115 and 825.122(d) are met. Thus, spouses may each take 12 weeks of FMLA leave if needed to care for an adopted or foster child with a serious health condition, even if both are employed by the same employer, provided they have not exhausted their entitlements during the applicable 12-month FMLA leave period.
(b) Use of intermittent and reduced schedule leave. An eligible employee may use intermittent or reduced schedule leave after the placement of a healthy child for adoption or foster care only if the employer agrees. Thus, for example, the employer and employee may agree to a part-time work schedule after the placement for bonding purposes. If the employer agrees to permit intermittent or reduced schedule leave for the placement for adoption or foster care, the employer may require the employee to transfer temporarily, during the period the intermittent or reduced leave schedule is required, to an available alternative position for which the employee is qualified and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave than does the employee's regular position. Transfer to an alternative position may require compliance with any applicable collective bargaining agreement, federal law (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act), and State law. Transfer to an alternative position may include altering an existing job to better accommodate the employee's need for intermittent or reduced leave. The employer's agreement is not required for intermittent leave required by the serious health condition of the adopted or foster child. See §§ 825.202-825.205 for general rules governing the use of intermittent and reduced schedule leave. See § 825.120 for general rules governing leave for pregnancy and birth of a child. See § 825.601 for special rules applicable to instructional employees of schools. See § 825.802 for special rules applicable to airline flight crew employees.