At Taylor Janis, we understand womens’ rights in the workplace.

We also understand that many companies in Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan, are under the impression that the rules do not apply to them; or that they can find creative ways around their obligations. This is particularly true regarding maternity leave rights, as, unfortunately, many women are vulnerable during this time, to employer abuse and discrimination; abuse and discrimination which may significantly affect their careers and livelihoods.

Below is some general information about your maternity leave and pregnancy-related rights in the workplace.


The Alberta Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination based on gender. Pregnancy is included under the ground of gender, thus the law prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy.

In most cases, it is contrary to the Code to:

  • ask on job applications or in job interviews if you are pregnant or plan to have children
  • lay you off or demote you because you are pregnant
  • harass or bully you because you are pregnant
  • prevent you from using your benefit plan for the health-related part of your maternity leave
  • ask you to pre-pay your benefit premiums or to pay your employer’s share of premiums for the health-related part of your maternity leave

Your pregnancy may prevent you from doing your job. Where possible, your employer should try to modify the workplace so you can work without harming yourself or the baby you carry.

For example, a pregnant store clerk may not have to carry heavy boxes from the stock room if there is someone else on staff who can be asked. The clerk would then be expected to assume additional less-physically demanding duties in exchange for not carrying heavy boxes.

Negative comments or reactions from customers or staff about your pregnancy cannot be used as a reason to fire you, lay you off, or demote you.


  • During your maternity leave or pregnancy-related absence, you
    are entitled to the same employee benefits that they received during employment. Contributions towards employment benefits such as a pension, health insurance, life insurance, disability, dental, medical, etc. should be paid during maternity leave if you were receiving these benefits during employment. If you were responsible for a portion of the cost of benefits during employment, you continue to be responsible for that portion while you are on maternity leave.
  • While on maternity leave, you should be made aware of job opportunities that become available so that, if you wish, you can compete for them.
  • Your seniority and years of service continue to accrue during your maternity leave, as this is not considered a break in the employment period.
  • You should be able to use any normally available medical, dental, and health benefits while on maternity leave.
  • While on maternity leave you should be informed of any changes to your job, and be given the same opportunity to participate in any work-related discussions or consultations as employees who are at the workplace.
  • During your return to work post-pregnancy, you should return to the same job or a similar job, if the original job no longer exists.
  • You should receive any wage increases that came into effect while you were on maternity leave.
  • If you breastfeed, you should be provided with accommodation for this purpose. This accommodation can include:  Providing a suitable clean place to breast-feed or express milk and to store milk; Providing longer or extra breaks for the purpose of breast-feeding or expressing milk; or, other necessary accommodations.

If you think your maternity leave rights have been violated, or, you would like to have a confidential discussion about your maternity leave rights, please contact Taylor Janis. We look forward to helping you.


Call or text us using the details below or fill out an enquiry form.


Toll Free: 1-844-224-0222
Phone: 780-428-7770
Text: 587-400-4549
Office location


Toll Free: 1-844-521-1715
Phone: 403-474-0411
Text: 587-315-0244
Office location

Red Deer

Taylor Janis LLP Employment Lawyers in Red Deer Priced to be discussed #17-104, 4808 Ross Street
Red Deer, Alberta T4N 1X4
Phone: 587-333-4399

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Taylor Janis LLP Employment Lawyers in Vancouver Priced to be discussed #202, 905 W Broadway
Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1K3
Phone: 604-423-2646
Toll-Free: 1-877-402-1002

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Taylor Janis LLP Employment Lawyers in Kamloops Priced to be discussed #600A, 235 – 1st Avenue
Kamloops, British Columbia V2C 3J4
Phone: 778-600-1599

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