Termination and Maternity Leave

There are significant protections in employment law for employees who are on maternity leave. This includes protections for employees who have not yet commenced their maternity leave and also for employees after they return from maternity leave.   

The Employment Standards Code makes it clear that termination during maternity leave is generally prohibited:

52(1) No employer may trade the employment of, or lay off, 

  • An employee who has started maternity or parental leave, or
  • An employee because the employee is entitled to maternity or parental leave. 

The Alberta Human Rights Act also provides protection against workplace discrimination due to maternity leave. This means that if an employer terminates your employment due to maternity leave, or if they make significant changes to your job due to maternity leave, that this is generally a violation of your workplace rights. 

Note that there are exceptions to the above general rules when the termination of employment is due to a discontinuation of the business. For example, if your employer closes their business and dismisses all of its employees, then this would be a rare situation where you could lose your employment while on maternity leave. 

Your Next Steps

Please contact our Intake Specialist at workplacelaw@lypkielaw.com or 780-669-4542 should you require assistance with an Employment Law matter.

Case Study

Our client was employed with a large organization. She had an excellent employment record and had recently received a positive performance review. Shortly after this, she announced to her employer that she was expecting. Her employer’s attitude to her changed immediately and shortly thereafter she was dismissed for vague reasons – that she was no longer a “fit” with the organization. We took the position that our client’s maternity leave was the real reason for her employment being terminated. Through negotiations with the employer’s legal counsel, we were able to settle our client’s claim and to obtain compensation which recognized their discriminatory treatment.