I have been on maternity leave for the past 12 weeks, and am starting back in the office tomorrow. Before I started my leave, my company made it quite clear that they didn't really want me as an employee any more but wanted to force me out with cause rather than lay me off or fire me without cause. If it weren't for this, I would probably have stayed another six months before moving on out of a sense of obligation to stay with a company after accepting maternity benefits.
I updated my resume two weeks ago online and started a job search with the expectation that it would take at least two months to find something, but now have two offers - both better than my current job in almost every way. I am strongly considering giving two weeks notice after accepting an offer, but am concerned that the company might then require me to pay back benefits I received during maternity. I will be checking to see if there is any official policy tomorrow, but am wondering if I can be charged for benefits received even I can't find any written policy about this? Also, can they have me return my benefits even if I return for two weeks?
Should I be looking into hiring a lawyer before giving notice? Money is very tight right now, so I'm not even sure if this is an option for me, financially. I really don't trust this company to be straight with me anymore. However, I'd also hate to miss out on a better job that will treat me well because I'm scared of the repercussions.
ETA: I am not covered by FMLA, though I've been here a full year and the company is mid-sized; there aren't 75 employees of the company within a certain radius (I forget how many miles) of my office. The leave was granted by the company. I got PTO and a benefit for extended sick leave, plus the company paid my health insurance premiums while I was on leave; otherwise, the leave was unpaid.