QUESTION: I have an employee returning from a maternity leave next month. Even before she became pregnant there were problems with her performance and attitude but we are a small business and I didn’t give her any warning letters. I foolishly kept hoping that things would improve. Then, when she got pregnant, I didn’t want to stress her out. I know I have to return her to the position she held before she started her leave but how long do I have to wait before I move her to another job or terminate her?
QUESTION: My company offers a maternity leave top up for the first 17 weeks of my leave. They will supplement the EI I receive so that I end up getting, between EI and their payment, 90% of my regular salary. In order to get it, however, they want me to sign an agreement that if I don’t return to work and stay for at least a year after my maternity leave I have to pay this money back. I have just been approached by someone else in the industry that has offered me a better position but if I have to pay this money back, the increase in my salary will be eaten up for the first three years. Is this enforceable?
The way in which the Employment Insurance Act treats parents who lose their jobs during or after the period in which they received maternity or parental benefits is unfair and discriminatory. A woman is entitled 15 weeks of maternity leave benefits and up to 35 weeks of parental leave benefits unless her spouse uses some of those parental benefits.
In Ontario, women who have the bad luck to be terminated from their employment just before they start or during their maternity leave are unwillingly increasing the surplus of money in the Employment Insurance bank. Call it an involuntary gift and an undeserved one at that.
So, you are pregnant and looking for a new job. If you are not already showing, do you disclose this fact to your potential employer up front? Do you wait and tell them later? What are your rights?
QUESTION: While my employment contract states that I am to be paid salary, last week I was told that I was being switched to hourly pay. As a result any time I miss from work will be docked from my pay. Recently, my employer indicated to me that by having three children in the five and a half years of my employment, I am taking advantage of the company's good will. Ironically, I only took twelve weeks off work for each child. I have been told that while it is one thing to burden my life by having my children so close together, I was also creating a burden for the company. Last week I took a day off work to take my baby to the hospital and immediately after I was changed from salary to hourly. Can they do this?