The foundation partnered with Employee Benefits News, the National Restaurant Association, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, to poll CEOs and human-resource executives from 762 U.S. companies about their adoption policies. The companies reported reimbursement from $500 to $20,960 and paid leave from one to 16 weeks, with averages of $4,700 for reimbursement and five weeks paid leave.
Exceptional Software Strategies offers employees up to $6,500 per adoption, including $2,500 for special-needs children, and a week of paid leave for adoptive parents. The company established the benefit plan when employee David Rothering presented it while trying to adopt a daughter after only two weeks with the company.
"This shows that my colleagues not only listen to and care about their employees, but they also care about their families," Rothering said in a prepared statement. "And they recognize there are many ways to make a family. I feel like I'm also part of a big family at Exceptional Software Strategies."
The number of employers offering adoption benefits is increasing, according to Hewitt Associates, which found that 45% of U.S. salaried employees reported adoption benefits in 2006, up from 12% in 1990.
Harris Interactive, a worldwide research firm, conducted a national survey about adoption benefit attitudes on behalf of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. It found that 95% of Americans believe companies should offer adoption benefits, but the foundation's data indicate that less than .5% of American employees actually use the benefits.
About 64% of Americans have had a personal experience with adoption, according to Rita Soronen, executive director of the foundation. She said adoption benefits can enhance employee recruitment, retention, and goodwill.
"We find that most employers are surprised at how little adoption benefits cost the company," she said.
The foundation ranked Google second on the list of technology and information companies with the most generous adoption benefits, and Electronic Data Systems third.
Google offers up to $5,000 for legal expenses, adoption agencies, or related fees, as well as 12 weeks off at 75% pay, and a $500 weekly take-out reimbursement for meals during the first four weeks after the child has arrived.
The Dave Thomas Foundation offers a free guide to help employers propose and establish adoption benefits policies. The charity seeks to encourage adoption of more than 140,000 children in foster care systems in North America.
Wendy's Restaurants founder Dave Thomas founded the non-profit adoption foundation in his name. More than 15 years ago, he began calling other CEOs to suggest expanded adoption benefits, saying: "It's the right thing to do." Thomas was adopted.