Returning to work: What are ‘keeping in touch days?

When it’s time to go back to work after having a baby, your boss may mention ‘keeping in touch days’ here’s what you need to know

What are ‘keeping in touch days'?

When returning to work after maternity, what do ‘keeping in touch days’ really mean?

Mother in office with baby

Keeping in touch days (KIT days) are a way of working up to ten days during maternity or adoption leave without your leave or pay coming to an end.

Similarly, you are also allowed to work up to 20 shared-parental-in-touch (SPLIT) days without bringing shared parental leave or pay to an end.

Is there specific work only I can do on a KIT/SPLIT day?

No, any work you do can count towards a KIT/SPLIT day, this includes training, conferences and meetings. If you only work for a couple of hours of the day; this will still count as a whole KIT/SPLIT day. 

It’s very important to agree in advance with your employer the work you will do on these days and how much you will be paid. These days are best used as a way to keep up to date with any changes in your workplace while you have been on leave; to attend a training course or staff meeting; to complete a project or to help you settle back into work gradually at the end of your leave.

If I do different work on a KIT/SPLIT day, can it affect returning to my original job?

No. Even if the work you do during these days is not part of your old job, it does not affect you to returning to your old role. It’s a good idea to ask your employer to confirm in writing that any work done during your leave will not affect your right to return to your old job.

If you have been on leave for up to six months, you have the right to return to the job you were doing immediately before you left. If you take longer than six months’ leave, you still have the right to return to the same job but if your employer can show it is not reasonably practicable for you to return to your old job, they have the right to offer you a suitable alternative job. If this is the case, seek advice.

If I pop in the office or just need to speak to my employer, would this be a KIT/SPLIT day?

No. The law allows your employer to make reasonable contact during your leave, for example, to discuss your return to work, so this is not part of your KIT/SPLIT time. However, if your employer is contacting you a lot and asking you to get involved in work do speak to them about agreeing some KIT/SPLIT days.

Is there a specific time KIT/SPLIT days can be worked?

These days can be worked any time during ordinary or additional maternity leave. You can work either before or after the birth but not during the two weeks of compulsory maternity leave immediately after the birth (four weeks for factory workers). They do not extend your leave and cannot be worked consecutively.

Do I have to work a KIT/SPLIT day?

No, you cannot be forced to work any KIT/SPLIT days and you may want to consider what you will be paid for KIT/SPLIT day. If you are unable or unwilling to work these days, it should not go against you in the workplace.

Can I insist I work KIT/SPLIT days?

No. They are decided in agreement with you and your employer.

Can KIT/SPLIT days help me work part-time before returning to work?

Yes, again it needs to be agreed between you and your employer. This way of using the days can help you and your employer see how well it works and it may strengthen your request to work part-time again, if you offer to trial it using KIT days. It’s important to agree in advance the rate of pay for any KIT/SPLIT days.
If you want to work part-time permanently after the end of your leave, you should make a request for flexible work. If you can, give your employer at least three months to consider your application.

Will I be paid my normal pay for KIT/SPLIT days?

Although it is expected to receive your usual rate of pay for KIT/SPLIT days, there is no legal enforcement on this. 
If you have to pay for childcare and/or travel to work, do let your employer know in advance so that your employer know so it can be taken into consideration. 

Returning to work: What are ‘keeping in touch days?