Bill would extend adoptive parental leave

The Business and Labor Committee heard testimony Jan. 24 on a bill that would allow some adoptive parents to take a leave of absence regardless of the adopted child’s age.

Sen. Matt Hansen
Sen. Matt Hansen

Under current state law, adoptive parents of children under age eight are entitled to the same leave time allowed to an employee for the birth of a child. LB869, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen, would expand the law to adoptive parents of a child of any age under 18. 

Hansen said children do not stop needing their parents, their family or stability once they turn nine. 

“The adjustment process looks different for every [adopted] child, and it can often fluctuate between highs and lows,” Hansen said. “These are not experiences [or] feelings that can be remedied overnight. It takes patience, guidance and time – something that is currently not available to all adoptive parents.”

Corinne O’Brien, an adoptive mother of six children, testified in support of LB869. She said that while working for the state of Nebraska, she was unable to take time off after adopting several children. 

“We need employers, whether they be private businesses or the government, to recognize the importance of the time following the adoption … and extend to them the same benefits that birth parents receive,” O’Brien said. 

Scout Richters also spoke in support of the bill on behalf of the ACLU of Nebraska. Deciding to adopt a child is one of the biggest decisions a person can make, Richters said, and adoptive parents need resources for their families to thrive.

No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action.

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