Keeping in touch (KIT) days provide staff with a limited opportunity to return to work, or take part in work related events, whilst they are on maternity leave or adoption leave. Kate Palmer, associate director of advice at Peninsula explains employer responsibilities around such arrangements.
When utilised correctly, KIT days will allow you to keep in contact and maintain a relationship with staff who are spending a prolonged period away from work, making their eventual return a more seamless transition.
Individuals are able to use a maximum of 10 KIT days during any one period of leave without losing their entitlement to pay, or triggering the end of their leave. This full entitlement applies to all employees and will not differ depending on how many hours a week they are contracted to work.
It should be noted that any time an employee participates in work will qualify as one full KIT day, even if it’s just an hour. There are also no requirements on how close together the KIT days can be used, meaning your employees could choose to use them in two separate five-day blocks or space them out further.
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KIT days can only be used if both you and your employee agree to it. You should discuss beforehand what work will be undertaken on the day and how much the employee will be paid.
Although there is no legal requirement to pay employees for this work, it is worth considering that there will be little incentive for them to participate if they are not remunerated for their time.
There is also the risk that withholding pay in this situation could breach national minimum wage (NMW) law.
Should an employee wish to work more than their 10 allocated KIT days during their paid period of leave then this will impact their entitlement to statutory maternity pay for that week.
Shared parental leave
Employees on shared parental leave have similar entitlements which mean they can also return to work on occasion without bringing their leave to an end. These are known as Shared Parental Leave In Touch (SPLIT) days and many of the same rules apply, including that an agreement must be reached between both parties before any work can take place.
However, staff are able to work up to 20 SPLIT days during their leave without forfeiting their right to shared parental pay.
It is important that both you and your employees are clear on the rules around both KIT and SPLIT days and it is always advisable to send staff a reminder of their entitlement once it becomes clear they are intending to take a period of “family-friendly’ leave.
Kate Palmer is associate director of advice at Peninsula
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