If you’re an employer or HR manager in the UK, then you’ll need to be aware of the Keeping In Touch (KIT) days during maternity leave.
This guide will provide you with all the information you need on KIT days, including what they are, how to calculate them and what to do if an employee wants to use them.
What are KIT days?
KIT days are a set number of days that an employee can work during their maternity leave, in order to keep in touch with their job and maintain their skills. They were introduced in 2003 as part of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations.
KIT days are optional, but offer a great opportunity for employers and employees to stay connected.
Employers can choose to set up KIT days for all employees on maternity leave, or just for those who have opted-in. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as training, catching up on work, or meeting with colleagues.
KIT days are a great way for employers to show that they support their employees’ return to work after maternity leave. They can also help to reduce the amount of time employees take off work after they return.
How do you calculate KIT days?
KIT days are worked out by counting back from the expected week of the baby’s birth. The number of KIT days an employee can work is based on how many weeks they have left until their baby is due.
For example, if an employee has 10 weeks left until their baby is due, they can work up to 3 KIT days. If they have only 4 weeks left, they can only work 1 KIT day.
What about SPLIT days for shared parental leave?
If an employee is taking shared parental leave, they can still use their KIT days. On top of this, they can also use SPLIT days, which are shared between the two parents. Employees are entitled to 20 shared-parental-in-touch (SPLIT) days without bringing shared parental leave or pay to a close.
However, they need to agree with their employer on how these will be split between them.
For example, if an employee wants to take 2 SPLIT days and their partner wants to take 3, they can split the days equally between them. Alternatively, if one person wants to take all 5 SPLIT days, they can do so. It’s up to the employees and their employer to agree on what works best.
How do KIT days impact maternity pay?
KIT days do not affect an employee’s maternity pay. Employees are still entitled to their full statutory maternity pay whether they take up KIT days or not.
Do employees get paid for KIT days?
Unfortunately, the rules do not specify what a worker should be paid for taking part in a KIT day. Employers are required to pay the employee’s usual rate of pay when employing you on leave. For any work performed during leave, you are entitled to be compensated at least the National Minimum Wage.
Can employers require employees to take KIT days?
No, employers cannot require employees to take KIT days. They are optional, and employees can choose whether or not they want to take them.
What should employers do if an employee doesn’t want to take KIT days?
If an employee doesn’t want to take KIT days, their employer can still offer them the opportunity to keep in touch by other means, such as email or telephone. Employers should also keep in mind that employees may take time off for appointments or sickness during their maternity leave, and should be accommodating where possible.
Do I have to offer KIT days to my employees?
Legally, employers do not have to offer KIT days to their employees. However, many choose to do so as it can be a useful way for employees to stay in touch with their work during their maternity leave. It can also help to reduce any potential disruption when they return to work.
What are the benefits of KIT days?
KIT days can offer a number of benefits for both employers and employees. For employers, KIT days can help to:
- Maintain communication and continuity between employees and management
- Preserve company culture and values
- Facilitate the return of the employee to work
For employees, KIT days can help to:
- Keep in touch with work and developments while on maternity leave
- Reduce the feeling of being disconnected from work
- Get back into the swing of things when returning to work.
How can I implement KIT days in my workplace?
If you decide that KIT days would be a beneficial addition to your workplace, there are a few things to consider. Here are some tips:
- Consult with employees to get their input on how the KIT days should be structured and what they would like to achieve from them
- Work with management and HR to create a policy for KIT days, including who is eligible, how many days are offered, and what the expectations are for employees during their leave
- Make sure that managers are aware of the policy and how to support employees who are on maternity leave
- Communicate the policy to all employees, and ensure that everyone understands the expectations and procedures.
Are there any downsides to offering KIT days to employees?
There are no real downsides to offering KIT days to employees. However, employers should be aware that some employees may not want to take them, or may only use a few of the days offered.
What happens if the employee works more than 10 KIT days?
If the employee works more than 10 KIT days, they are no longer eligible for statutory maternity pay. However, they may still be entitled to other benefits, such as contractual maternity pay. Employers should check the terms and conditions of their employee’s contract to see what entitlement they have.
For the purposes of KIT days, what counts as “work”?
Work for the purposes of KIT days includes any duties or tasks that the employee is normally required to perform. This could include attending meetings, working on projects, or completing other assigned tasks.
Can I use KIT days to send my employee on training?
No, employers cannot use KIT days to send their employees on training. The days should be used for keeping in touch with the employee’s work, not for training or development purposes.
Can I use KIT days to send my employee on holiday?
No, employers cannot use KIT days to send their employees on holiday. The days should be used for keeping in touch with the employee’s work, not for taking a vacation.
Can I transfer KIT days to another employee?
No, employers cannot transfer KIT days to other employees. The days should be used for keeping in touch with the employee’s work, not for another employee’s benefit.
Can I terminate an employee’s employment if they do not use their KIT days?
No, employers cannot terminate an employee’s employment if they do not use their KIT days. The days should be used for keeping in touch with the employee’s work, not as a punishment or threat.