Florida Senate - 2020 SB 136 By Senator Bean 4-00153B-20 2020136__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to adoption benefits; amending s. 3 409.1664, F.S.; revising the definition of the term 4 “qualifying adoptive employee”; providing that certain 5 adoptive veterans and servicemembers are eligible to 6 apply for certain monetary benefits; defining the 7 terms “veteran” and “servicemember”; authorizing the 8 Department of Children and Families to adopt rules; 9 providing an effective date. 10 11 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 12 13 Section 1. Section 409.1664, Florida Statutes, is amended 14 to read: 15 409.1664 Adoption benefits for qualifying adoptive 16 employees of state agencies, veterans, and servicemembers.— 17 (1) As used in this section, the term: 18 (a) “Child within the child welfare system” has the same 19 meaning as provided in s. 409.166. 20 (b) “Qualifying adoptive employee” means a full-time or 21 part-time employee of a state agency, a charter school 22 established under s. 1002.33, or the Florida Virtual School 23 established under s. 1002.37 who is paid from regular salary 24 appropriations, or otherwise meets his or her employer’s 25 definition of a regular rather than temporary employee, and who 26 adopts a child within the child welfare system pursuant to 27 chapter 63 on or after July 1, 2015. The term includes 28 instructional personnel, as defined in s. 1012.01, who are 29 employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. For 30 purposes of this paragraph, an employer’s definition of a 31 regular employee may include an other-personal-services employee 32 who has been continuously employed full-time or part-time by the 33 state agency for at least 1 year. 34 (c) “State agency” means a branch, department, or agency of 35 state government for which the Chief Financial Officer processes 36 payroll requisitions, a state university or Florida College 37 System institution as defined in s. 1000.21, a school district 38 unit as defined in s. 1001.30, or a water management district as 39 defined in s. 373.019. 40 (2) A qualifying adoptive employee who adopts a child 41 within the child welfare system who has special needs described 42 in s. 409.166(2)(a)2. is eligible to receive a lump-sum monetary 43 benefit in the amount of $10,000 per such child, subject to 44 applicable taxes. A qualifying adoptive employee who adopts a 45 child within the child welfare system who does not have special 46 needs described in s. 409.166(2)(a)2. is eligible to receive a 47 lump-sum monetary benefit in the amount of $5,000 per such 48 child, subject to applicable taxes. A qualifying adoptive 49 employee of a charter school or the Florida Virtual School may 50 retroactively apply for the monetary benefit provided in this 51 subsection if such employee was employed by a charter school or 52 the Florida Virtual School when he or she adopted a child within 53 the child welfare system pursuant to chapter 63 on or after July 54 1, 2015. 55 (a) Benefits paid to a qualifying adoptive employee who is 56 a part-time employee must be prorated based on the qualifying 57 adoptive employee’s full-time equivalency at the time of 58 applying for the benefits. 59 (b) Monetary benefits awarded under this subsection are 60 limited to one award per adopted child within the child welfare 61 system. 62 (c) The payment of a lump-sum monetary benefit for adopting 63 a child within the child welfare system under this section is 64 subject to a specific appropriation to the department for such 65 purpose. 66 (3) A qualifying adoptive employee must apply to his or her 67 agency head, or to his or her school director in the case of a 68 qualifying adoptive employee of a charter school or the Florida 69 Virtual School, to obtain the monetary benefit provided in 70 subsection (2). Applications must be on forms approved by the 71 department and must include a certified copy of the final order 72 of adoption naming the applicant as the adoptive parent. 73 Monetary benefits shall be approved on a first-come, first 74 served basis based upon the date that each fully completed 75 application is received by the department. 76 (4) This section does not preclude a qualifying adoptive 77 employee from receiving adoption assistance for which he or she 78 may qualify under s. 409.166 or any other statute that provides 79 financial incentives for the adoption of children. 80 (5) Parental leave for a qualifying adoptive employee must 81 be provided in accordance with the personnel policies and 82 procedures of his or her employer. 83 (6) The department may adopt rules to administer this 84 section. The rules may provide for an application process such 85 as, but not limited to, an open enrollment period during which 86 qualifying adoptive employees may apply for monetary benefits 87 under this section. 88 (7) The Chief Financial Officer shall disburse a monetary 89 benefit to a qualifying adoptive employee upon the department’s 90 submission of a payroll requisition. The Chief Financial Officer 91 shall transfer funds from the department to a state university, 92 a Florida College System institution, a school district unit, a 93 charter school, the Florida Virtual School, or a water 94 management district, as appropriate, to enable payment to the 95 qualifying adoptive employee through the payroll systems as long 96 as funds are available for such purpose. 97 (8) Each state agency shall develop a uniform procedure for 98 informing employees about this benefit and for assisting the 99 department in making eligibility determinations and processing 100 applications. Any procedure adopted by a state agency is valid 101 and enforceable if the procedure does not conflict with the 102 express terms of this section. 103 (9) A veteran or servicemember who is domiciled in this 104 state and who adopts a child within the child welfare system 105 pursuant to chapter 63 on or after July 1, 2020, is eligible to 106 apply for the monetary benefits awarded under subsection (2), 107 regardless of whether the veteran or servicemember is a 108 qualifying adoptive employee. As used in this subsection, the 109 term “veteran” has the same meaning as provided in s. 1.01(14) 110 and the term “servicemember” has the same meaning as provided in 111 s. 250.01(19). The department may adopt rules to administer this 112 subsection. 113 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.