To Leave After Leave or Not to Leave

I am halfway through my pregnancy and have begun discussing maternity leave with my H.R. rep. Thanks to paid leave, short-term disability and vacation, I plan to be out for four and a half months. However, there is a small possibility that a new job would work out for my husband, which would give me the opportunity to not return from leave and instead pursue a part-time opportunity.

I have scoured our employee handbook and paid leave guidelines, but cannot find anything about needing to pay the company back for medical costs or wages if I decide to not return. I want to ask my H.R. rep if there is any penalty for not returning, but my husband thinks this is a terrible idea. I disagree, but am I maybe not seeing something obvious?


My replied echoed Grays,  so I share it with you “Do not ask your H.R. rep if there is any penalty for not returning. That will only alert your employer, who is not your friend, that you are considering quitting — which could jeopardize your employment and leave. If your contract doesn’t explicitly state you cannot quit for a given amount of time after maternity leave, you have every right to quit your job whenever you choose. Is it ethical to quit? There are lots of different opinions on that. But unless contractually stipulated, it is legal. If this question is really plaguing you, consult an employment lawyer.

Even though your handbook doesn’t say, I would caution you that there could be consequences for leaving your job, including having to repay health-insurance premiums or other benefits your employer provided during your leave.

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6 Responses to To Leave After Leave or Not to Leave

  1. Avoid it all together, go back a day or two and then quit. You already have a start date with part-time job. No two-week notice, maybe one and be gone while enjoying one full week off from both. When people get fired, they just tell you pack up and escort you out. I see it this way, when an employee dies, they figure it all out. Be sure to use up health benefits while on leave. Get those teeth cleaned, and regular health checkup if not already done. This way if something pops up, you are still employed with benefits. There are a few weeks to consider all while on leave before taking on that new job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      I agree with you that two weeks’ notice is a courtesy not a requirement. One week is enough to not burn bridges, and to leave on a professional high. One should also use all their benefits, and PTO, leave nothing behind that you have already paid for. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. adguru101 says:

    Your employer is not your friend— but don’t burn any bridges either!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a good one. At the airline we can’t call out sick after being on vacation. It’s a red flag and we get a write up for violating something. I don’t know, b/c I don’t do it. But this is where wisdom comes in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      I have heard of employers having such rules. I think it is unfair, because what if you really are sick, your plane, or train got delayed. Something’s are out of one’s control, and we should all be given a be given a bit of grace.

      Liked by 1 person

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