Do I have to start as a new employee after maternity leave?

Upon returning to work from maternity leave my boss told me I have to start as a new employee as far as sick and vacation time as well as not being paid for the last holiday (new employees must work 90 days before they start recieving paid holidays). I have worked for the company for 2 years and have earned sick, vacation and paid holidays previously. I recieved short term disabilty through the company’s insurance (I remained an employee) during my maternity leave. Can she legally do this to me?

Asked on July 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you took the leave under a law, like the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which guaranteed you the right to maternity leave, then you should have returned at the same pay, benefits, etc. as you had before taking the leave; leave under the law maintains you in the same position and seniority at work as you had previously had.

However, if you did not take leave under some law guarantying you leave--e.g. your employer voluntarily agreed to let you take leave--then the company could set the terms and conditions for using said leave, to include a loss of "seniority" for sick, vacation, and holiday days.

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