What to do if I was laid off during maternity leave?

I was just laid off from a job while on maternity leave. I then filed for unemployment and all of a sudden my bosses think they may have “partial hours” available. My unemployment is now “pending.” They kept delaying my return before laying me off and now this? Communication has been poor and I am hesitant to return. What are my legal rights? This is a small business with less than 25 employees.

Asked on July 17, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, since your employer has less than 25 employees, it is not covered by either the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (50 employee minimum) or the Oregon Family Leave Act (25 employees). Therefore, there is no legally protected right to maternity leave, which means that you most likely could be laid off by your employer while on leave.

If you are being offered significantly less hours than before, you may still be able to file for unemployment--your obligation is to take jobs that are at least somewhat comparable, including in terms of compensation, to what you previously had. Alternately, you may be able, depending on the hours and pay, to take the job and also receive partial unemployment. You should contact your state labor department, the unemployment division, to check on eligibility.

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