Your Reinstatement Rights – How Do You Protect Your Job After Maternity Leave?

So you’ve dusted off the old briefcase and headed back to work like a champ. Ready or not, here I come! It’s not easy to re-enter the workforce after baby. The work has piled up, coworkers are slightly irritated for having to pick up the slack, and your breasts are punishing you for leaving your baby by leaking through your fancy work clothes.

They better welcome you back with a plate of pancakes and a team of assistants. But they won’t. Instead, the best case scenario is that you’ll simply pick up where you left off.

Reinstatement rights are the rights after you return from leave to your job.

Following a maternity leave, you’re entitled to be immediately reinstated to the same or a comparable position.

A job is comparable if it’s virtually identical in terms of pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment, including worksite, shift, effort, responsibilities, duties, etc.

You are only entitled to be reinstated if you are able to return to work upon the expiration of your leave. If you tell your employer that you’re not ready to come back to work because you want more time with your baby, they can fire you.

However, if you or your baby has a continuing health condition after birth and you need more time to attend to this condition, you may be able to negotiate a reasonable accommodation, even if you are out of leave. Whether your employer will grant your request depends on the circumstances, including the industry and how burdensome it is on the company to grant your request.

If you tell them, “I can’t come back now and I don’t know when I can come back,” that would not be a reasonable request. You’re not entitled to an open-ended leave of absence. If you tell them, “I can’t come back right now, but I can come back in two weeks,” they have to at least consider that request because that’s a request with a specific end time. If you say, “I can only come back at 70% capacity,” they would also need to investigate that.

It would all depend on how hard that would be on the business. Reasonable accommodations after leave is a complex area of the law and you should consult with a lawyer if you were denied accommodations.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends. It’s important moms feel protected returning to their jobs. We all need to help each other.

We dive deep into your rights as a woman at work in The Mamattorney Academy, which offers expert legal education, videos, attorney-drafted SCRIPTS, community, workshops, and monthly live calls. This Academy was created for all women who work, with sections on expanded state-specific rights where applicable. The Academy will tell you exactly which laws apply to your situation and will teach you how to strategically use those laws as a tool to set healthy boundaries at work and get paid your worth.

I’m on a mission to educate every woman on her rights at work. You probably have more rights than you think you do. You CAN advocate for yourself in a way that is well-received and protected. You CAN successfully combine a family life with your job. You do NOT have to compromise your health, your time at home, or your career growth. You just need to know your rights, and how to use them. Join us.

DISCLAIMER – This blog is for educational purposes and to give general information and a general understanding of the laws relating to California employment law. It is not intended to provide specific legal advice, nor should you use it for that purpose. By using this blog you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Mamattorney or Delvaux Law and you should not use this blog as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. We don’t know anything about your particular situation, and the law has many exceptions. If you have a dispute with your employer, you need to consult with an employment lawyer.

Hi, I’m Daphne

I’m a mother as well as owner of Delvaux Law, the nation’s FIRST law firm devoted entirely to women’s rights at work. I help mothers when there’s an obstacle or conflict at work preventing them from caring for their babies or themselves, or when having a baby puts their job at risk or actually results in job loss. When companies don’t follow the rules, the burden falls on our families. Mothers need an advocate who understands their rights, and an advocate who understands life as a working mom, including how important it is for your time with your baby to be stress-free so you can heal and bond without anxiety or pressure. I have a track record of success in standing up to corporations that don’t respect their pregnant employees, including a $1,000,000 result for a pregnancy discrimination case. You need someone in your corner to help you navigate the complex laws ignored or abused by your employer, so that you can focus on enjoying your sacred time with your new baby. I’ve got you, mama. Click here to learn more about my success record.
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