Ask the ExpertCategory: QuestionsEarly Return from Maternity Leave
hri_Admin Staff asked 3 years ago

An employee currently on Maternity Leave is requesting to return to work 4 months earlier on Jan 1st, 2020, than her originally scheduled return date of April 1, 2020.
Does the employer have the right to refuse this request and have her return on April 1, 2020.

2 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 3 years ago

I believe so but I need to run this past our payroll expert, Alan McEwen. Get back to u as soon as I can. Sorry to wait 4 days and look at the Q at the end of the day Friday. . . Glenn

Glenn Demby Staff answered 3 years ago

Here’s Alan’s response: Yes, subject to the requirement to provide 4 weeks written notice.
Glenn again:  Alberta ESC Sec 53(1) says employee must provide at least 4 weeks’ notice before end of leave of her return date. Sec 53(4) says she’s not entitled to resume working until that notice date. In other words, you don’t have to let her return to work sooner if you don’t want to. Hope that helps. Feel bad I kept u waiting so long. Glenn
Alberta ESC
53(1)  Subject to section 46(2), an employee must give the employer at least 4 weeks’ written notice of the date on which the employee intends to resume work and in any event must give notice not later than 4 weeks before the end of the leave period to which the employee is entitled or 4 weeks before the date on which the employee has specified as the end of the employee’s leave period, whichever is earlier.
(2)  If an employee has given notice that she intends to resume work on a date that is before the end of the 6‑week period referred to in section 46(2), the employee is entitled without further notice to an additional period of leave sufficient to meet the requirements of section 46(2).
(3)  The additional period of leave referred to in subsection (2) is to be charged first against any remaining maternity leave to which the employee is entitled and then against parental leave, and if it is charged against parental leave the amount of parental leave referred to in section 50 is reduced accordingly.
(4)  An employee is not entitled to resume working until the date specified in the written notice referred to in subsection (1) or the end of the additional period referred to in subsection (2), as the case may be.
(5)  An employee must resume work on the date specified in the written notice or immediately following the end of the additional period, as the case may be, and if the employee fails to return to work on that date the employee is not entitled to resume work subsequently unless the failure to return to work resulted from unforeseeable or unpreventable circumstances.
(6)  If an employee fails to provide at least 4 weeks’ notice before the end of the leave period to which the employee is entitled, the employee is not entitled to resume work unless the failure to provide the notice resulted from unforeseeable or unpreventable circumstances.