I have recently returned from maternity after a full year off. Not full time as I was previously, but I've only dropped a few hours.
I have returned in an 'alternative' role, with same job title and salary. However it is quite clearly a lesser role as my duties have been significantly reduced and instead of reporting to a Director, I now report to the person who is doing the role I had before I went on leave!
Essentially, I am doing a deputy job rather than a managers job as before. My holidays are approved by my 'manager' and I am given my work by them, not the director.
I went through my old job description (no new one has been given to me) and I literally do 2 things that I used to do, and load of new stuff which is essentially just menial admin work that is making no use of my skills and knowledge whatsoever.
Having done my research I am concerned that as I've done a FWA and dropped a few hours, my entitlement to an 'equivalent' role that I had before is now null and void.
Sounds like effective demotion and perhaps the risk is that a regrade process could put you at risk of a downgrade so it may be good to protest and perhaps get protwction against regrade or say you see yourself at a full capacity role in six months/year or peomotion above your managers in a year..join your old boss in with this ambition and ask for the steps you need to take.
I'm amateur at negotation though! others might have better advice! It could be discrimination that is well meant and naive..