Returning to Work after Parental, Maternity or Paternity Leave


You took a leave from work for a few months to spend time with your new baby. During your leave, your boss decided to restructure the office. He assigned you to a new task and, to make things worse, you have to take a substantial pay cut. What are your rights in this situation? 

Whether you’re taking parental, maternity or paternity leave, the law protects your job and working conditions. In this article, Éducaloi explains the rights that parents have when returning from these leaves. 

What happens if I don’t show up at work when I am scheduled to return from my leave? 

If you fail to show up on the date in the written notice you gave to your employer before going on leave, your employer can presume that you have resigned. 

If you want to come back before the scheduled date of your return, you must give your employer a written notice. This notice must be given to the employer at least 3 weeks before the new date of your return to work.

My employer is requesting a medical certificate because I returned to work 2 weeks after giving birth. Is this legal? 

Yes. It is legal for your employer to ask for a medical certificate stating that you are able to return to work only two weeks after the birth. 

When I returned to work, my employer told me that I couldn’t return to my position because he had replaced me. Does he have the right to do this? 

No. At the end of your leave, your employer must let you go back to the same position. He must pay you the same salary and give you the same benefits that you had before your leave. 

While I was on leave, the employees at my company got a raise. Will my salary be raised when I return? 

Yes. You have a right to this salary increase and your employer must raise your wages starting on the day you return to work. 

During my leave, my employer eliminated my position. The person who replaced me was offered a position similar to the one I held. Is this legal? 

No. If your position was eliminated during your leave, your employer must treat you as though you were at work when it happened. 

You’re the one who should be offered the similar position, not the person who replaced you during your leave. The employer’s actions may be considered illegal if it appears that you would have been offered the similar position had you not taken leave.

Can people lose their jobs, be demoted, transferred, or otherwise penalised because they take a maternity, paternity or parental leave?

No. An employer cannot fire or punish people because they take a leave. If this happens, the law gives the employee a number of options. The employee has 45 days to file a complaint with the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST or labour standards, pay equity and workplace health and safety board).