By Alex Davidson
Originally published on Advocate.com October 10 2013 5:54 PM ET
When you think of the name Dave Thomas, you think burgers, fries, and the redhead named Wendy. Probably the last thing you think of is adoption.
But Thomas, who was adopted, created the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to help foster children find homes. His foundation publishes annual rankings that highlight employers with the most comprehensive adoption benefits.
Who tops the list this year? Well, no surprise that Wendy’s is number 1. Coming in second is Ferring Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company in New Jersey. Third place goes to banking outfit Citizens Financial Group. Rounding out the top 10 are HanesBrands, Barilla America, Liquidnet Holdings, LSI Corp., UBM, Cambridge Family and Children’s Service, and Boston Scientific.
The foundation also breaks out the most adoption-friendly workplaces by industry, including education, government, hotel and travel, nonprofit, real estate, and retail.
Interestingly, the overall rankings put Barilla America in the number 5 spot. The company pays for up to $16,000 in adoption-related costs and offers one week of paid leave in addition to other paid leave options.
This follows controversial antigay remarks made by the company’s chairman. The rankings, however, were compiled before Guido Barilla made his statement that Barilla will never feature gay couples in its advertisements.
The rankings are compiled based on a survey each employer completes about its adoption benefits, specifically the amount of financial assistance and paid leave offered to employees who adopt. Eligibility for adoption benefits is not based on sexual orientation, so the rankings apply to same-sex couples. In addition, benefits are only for the employee who adopts, not his/her spouse, so again sexual orientation is not a factor. This is the seventh year the Dave Thomas Foundation has compiled its rankings.
It seems adoption benefits are another tool for companies to woo and keep workers. According to the foundation:
Adoption benefits are one of the easiest benefit policies a company can offer and are becoming more popular. In Aon Hewitt’s annual survey of 1,000 major U.S. employers, only 12 percent offered a financial adoption benefit in 1990. This year, 52 percent of employers reported offering a financial adoption benefit.
“It is vital for adoptive parents to spend time with their children to bond and develop trust,” said Rita Soronen, President and CEO of the Foundation. “Employers who offer adoption benefits understand that the initial needs of adoptive families are no different than families formed biologically. And family-friendly work environments create strong and loyal workforces.”
Employers who applied for the list offer an average of $7,000 in adoption assistance and four weeks of paid leave. Financial assistance ranges from $500 to $25,300, and paid leave from one to 18 weeks. Unpaid leave for adoption, beyond what is required by the Family and Medical Leave Act, ranges from one week to three years.
Contact Alex Davidson on Twitter at Twitter.com/adwildcat.