There are two crucial entitlements for an employer to remember while an employee is on a protected leave.
First, that employee is on leave. These leaves are not a vacation. Employers should refrain from calling, texting, or emailing the employee unnecessarily during this time.
The other point to remember is that even though the employee is out of the workplace, they should be treated for all intents and purposes as though their service has continued uninterrupted. This means that they will continue to accrue vacation at the same rate, have the same eligibility for bonus and salary increases, and should have the same eligibility for advancements and promotions as well.
This may seem contrary to some employers’ intuition, but think of the situation differently. For example, to deny an employee on parental leave the opportunity for a promotion while they are off is effectively discriminating against them for becoming a parent. This would be prohibited by human rights legislation that protects both an individual’s gender, as well as their family status.