If I decide to stay home after paid maternity leave, do I have to repay?

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If I decide to stay home after paid maternity leave, do I have to repay?

If so, do I need to work a number of days in order to not repay? I’ve been working as an administrative assistant for 5 1/2 years at a church with about 20 full time employees. I’m currently 25 weeks pregnant and have been put on bed rest until I give birth. This time off will be unpaid. Once the baby is born I plan on taking 6 weeks paid maternity leave and 2 weeks of vacation that I have earned. I’m debating right now if I should return to work after my 8 weeks is up. If I decide not to return, how long must I work in order to not have to repay the maternity leave and vacation pay?

Asked on August 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard and fast rule on the subject. If you were given paid maternity leave on the express condition (i.e. as part of an agreement) that you would return, or only because you represented (claimed or promised) to the company you would return, then yes, you would have to repay it's value if you do not return. However, again, the law does not define a specific number of weeks you'd have to stay to be safe. The best rule of thumb is that if you leave so quickly that it appears that was you intention--i.e. that you intended to take advantage of the paid leave without honoring your committment or promise to return--that's when you'd have to repay it. (Note that if you specifically promised to return for a set amount of time, however, that promise or agreement is likely enforceable, and that's how long you'd have to stay.)


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