The owner and the employee will face challenges as they readjust to the workplace after an extended vacation. Approximately one-third of women worry about the attitude of their supervisor and coworkers after returning from maternity leave, and one-tenth worry about the availability of their role. Therefore, constant contact with the employee is crucial to facilitate their return, as basic as setting up a system to keep in touch or hosting a team get-together to reacquaint the employee on leave with the rest of the group. You can do many things to keep them feeling welcome and valued while they’re away.
What is “keeping in touch” days?
On kit days, you can get some work done, stay in touch with your coworkers, and catch up on any developments at the office. They provide a chance to help workers readjust to their jobs more easily.
If you and your employer concur, you can take up to 10 “keeping in touch” (KIT) days during your maternity leave without losing your paid time off. The ten days are yours whether you normally work full- or part-time. Even if you can only make it for a portion of the KIT day, your work will still be credited toward the full day. For example, 20 half-days wouldn’t work because each half-day would be counted as a complete KIT day.
You are not entitled to KIT days, and your boss has no right to require you to work them. The KIT requires prior employer approval. Similarly, you are not obligated to work on KIT days, and your boss has no right to do so.
You will lose your right to maternity keeping-in-touch pay. If you work more than ten keep-in-touch days, your maternity leave will be considered over. Employees can keep their paid time off and shared parental leave benefits intact by working up to 20 shared parental in-contact (SPLIT) days.
Formulate a strategy before sending an employee on vacation.
Except for the required two weeks of maternity leave right after the delivery of the child, maternity keeping-in-touch days can be taken at any time during your employee’s regular or additional maternity leave.
Days spent in KIT or SPLIT can be earned for any activity, including meetings, conferences, and training. You and your employee should agree on the tasks completed each day. And even a few hours of labor will be considered a full SIT/SPLIT day. These days can help your employee ease back into work after a leave of absence by giving them time to catch up on office news and get reacquainted with coworkers.
To guarantee that your plan is mutually beneficial, it is important to focus on the health and happiness of your employees. This means being receptive to and accommodating employee concerns and suggestions about their return to work.
When we have KIT days, what can I do?
On a KIT day, you can work on anything you like. This usually entails whatever duties are expected of you in your position. Before the KIT day, you and your boss should discuss the tasks you will complete. KIT days can be used for various purposes. It is not limited to keeping up with developments in the workplace, completing work, training or other work-related activities. The most important work you can do with them is to use them to help smooth your way back into the workforce.
Working from home is also considered a keeping-in-touch day, depending on the circumstances.
Mothers frequently use their KIT days to ease back into the workforce after parental leave, often working reduced hours before returning full-time.
Even if you only labor a portion of the day, you should get credit for a full KIT day pay.
Limitations of Keeping In Touch Days
On a KIT day, the worker is free to perform any task for the company, including training, and is entitled to a full day’s salary and any applicable commission. The employee could not work 40 KIT half days because even a few hours of labor counts as a full day.
After two weeks, kit day pay can be used. They can be spread out over a month or more and don’t have to be sequential. They are not required of either side, which is a major plus.
If the company or the worker doesn’t want them, they don’t occur. The 10 KIT days (or 20 SPL days) are optional for employees to take off work for any reason. An employee has questioned me if denying their request would be considered sex discrimination. I don’t think so, and I have yet to hear any examples of it working or failing.
In addition, companies worry that keeping in contact with employees on maternity leave via phone or email will make them feel like they’re being pressured to come back to work. Contact of a fair nature is permitted by law. Talking to the employee before they depart for vacation is recommended. You must honor their request for silence if they make one.
The worker may be interested in hearing about any upcoming openings, promotions, staff departures, or scheduled training. You and the other party may settle on a monthly phone contact for an update.
A common concern for employers is whether or not an absent worker intends to return to work. A pregnant worker is entitled to parental leave for a full year under the maternity keep in touch days law. They must give eight weeks’ notice if they want to come back sooner, but they are free of pressure to choose then.
Aspects of work that aren’t included in keeping in Touch days.
An employee is permitted to take part in a work-related event without being compensated in any way. A return to work or a “keeping in contact” day will not be awarded for this outing.
For instance, maintaining communication does not discourage employees from freely showing up to work or :
- pay a call on friends and coworkers
- get involved in the community
- perform other non-work-related tasks at the office, like checking email during a social call, without compensation.
Employees’ return to work may be one of many motivations for them to engage in paid work. These cases will be treated as a return to employment. That could mean anything from returning to your normal paid position to filling in for an absent coworker for a day. As a result, they will not receive Parental Leave Compensation on that particular date. Their Paid Parental Leave will conclude on this date if it is less than their remaining time.
You may make an exception if your worker must return early for other reasons.
How much salary will be affected by KIT days?
Paying employees for “keeping in contact” days is voluntary and not mandated by law. In other areas, however, such as the National Minimum Wage Act, the Equal Pay Act, and your employment contract, your employer is bound to obey the law. A maternity policy or employment contract typically outlines your company’s procedure regarding payment for keeping in touch days. The other option is for them to use their judgment. In such cases, employers must exercise uniformity and fairness when determining KIT day policies.
You should still have Statutory Maternity Pay even if you take KIT days, as this is their intended purpose (SMP). SMP is payable for 39 weeks: the first 6 weeks at 90% of average weekly earnings and the following 33 weeks at the SMP rate or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. At present, a weekly SMP payment costs £148.68. (April 2019).
Some other terms and Conditions
The SMP required for the week must be made at the very least. Pay for KIT days may be deducted from SMP payments, or a contracted payment may be made, but you may be paid at least what you are entitled to receive as SMP. Before starting work, you and your boss should agree on whether you will receive contractual payment and SMP. This could be the going rate for a complete workday for many people.
The paycheck for the week or month you work should include the amount owed to you for KIT days, just as it does for any other contractually required hours. Pay shouldn’t have to wait until your maternity absence is over unless that’s the next regularly scheduled payroll date. Depending on your situation, more than the KIT day pay is needed to justify the additional childcare and transportation costs. You are not required to work on keeping in touch day, and your boss has no right to insist that you do so.
Companies should call out to parents in the workforce in whatever capacity they choose to do so and inquire as to what services, if any, would be most helpful. Learn how to assist your working parents by actively attending to and comprehending them. While it’s true that every parent has different requirements, even the smallest of accommodations can have a big impact and send a message that their employer cares, encouraging them to offer their all in their work.