The back-to-work adjustment

Recent legal cases show parents returning from mat leave can’t be penalized, but that’s not a blank cheque for workers to dictate terms of employment
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/07/2006

Employers have some very clear obligations to meet when a worker returns from maternity or parental leave. According to a fact sheet published by the Ontario government, in most cases the worker must be given her job back at the end of the leave or a comparable job if it no longer exists.

The worker must also receive the same wage or, if wages for the job have gone up during her time off or if she would have received a raise had she been working, then the employer must pay her the higher wage.

The only time an employer would not have to reinstate the worker would be if she was dismissed for legitimate reasons completely unrelated to the maternity or parental leave. In short, the worker cannot be penalized for having taken maternity leave. Courts and arbitrators across the country have dealt with a number of cases where employers didn’t follow the rules when a worker came back.