What are an employee’s rights after returning to work from maternity leave?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are an employee’s rights after returning to work from maternity leave?

First, I would like to know if I had a planned date to come back to work and it was signed and acknowledged by the manager to come back on that date, do they have to have me scheduled on that date? Second, the manager told me she could not give me my normal hours back as she told me they gave them to the new employees, (although every other woman who came back from maternity leave got their exact hours back without any hesitation), is this legal to do? And if there is anything that I may have missed regarding employee discrimination going back to work after maternity leave. Also, this is a place who has around 40 employees.

Asked on August 13, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If your workplace has "around 40 employees," they would not seem to be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which applies to employers with at least 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius. If FMLA does not apply, then it was up to the employer to let you have maternity leave or not and, if so, under what conditions. Similarly, the employer is not required to give you the exact same job (or same hours) back when you return, if they allowed you to take leave, so based on what you write, this is legal, unfortunately. (Note: your state does not have a separate maternity leave law, so it all comes down to whether your are eligible for FMLA leave or not.)

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