What are keeping in touch (KIT) days?
In today’s rapidly moving working world, keeping in touch (KIT) days are intended to allow an employee on maternity or adoption leave to stay connected to their workplace.
In this blog we will decode the concept of a KIT day for employers, to promote a greater understanding of the transition back to the workplace, post pregnancy.
What are KIT days and when can you take them?
KIT days are opportunities for employees on maternity leave to work or attend work-related activities without ending their leave or losing their pay. UK law requires employers to keep a ‘reasonable’ amount of contact with employees on maternity leave, so introducing KIT days in your workplace can be a great way to smooth the transition back to full-time work.
A KIT day does not have to be a full, normal day of work. If your employee feels that they want to attend some meetings, or finish a project they’ve been working on, in a half day format – that is acceptable, and counts as a KIT day.
Be aware that a social visit, for instance if your employee decides to introduce her infant to her co-workers in the office, does not count as a KIT day.
How many KIT days are employees entitled to?
Up to 10 KIT days are permitted at any time during maternity leave, except the two weeks immediately after the birth of the child. However, KIT days are not mandated by UK law, instead they are entirely optional and require agreement from both the employer and employee.
As an employer you are not obligated to offer KIT days upon request, but also note that your employees are legally protected and cannot face negative consequences due to refusing KIT days, or even backing out of them last minute due to childcare or health concerns.
Be conscious as well, that if an employee that takes more than 10 KIT days, their maternity leave will be ended as a result.
Who is entitled to claim KIT days?
In the UK, Keep in Touch (KIT) days are specifically designed for individuals who are on maternity leave (whether that be for 26 or 52 weeks), adoption leave, or shared parental leave.
Parents who are taking advantage of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) can also take advantage of KIT days, although they are referred to as Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days in this context. Those on shared parental leave are entitled to 20 SPLIT days each, versus only 10 KIT days.
How do you compensate an employee for KIT days?
There is no legal requirement on payment for KIT days, though laws on minimum wage and overtime still stand in this instance. Working KIT days will not affect Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), which continues as usual.
Payment for KIT days can be handled in several ways, and should be agreed upon between the employer and the employee ahead of time.
Here are three different ways payment could work for a KIT day
- An employee is paid their normal daily wage, in addition to her Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) for that day.
- An employee is paid a smaller subsection of their normal daily wage, in addition to SMP for that day, due to fewer hours worked.
- An employee has their compensation offset by the SMP for that day.
Offset compensation sounds confusing but is actually quite simple – for instance, if an employee’s daily wage is 100 pounds, and she receives 50 pounds that day as her SMP, her employer can pay her only 50 pounds, as that amount combined with the daily SMP would equal 100, the amount that she had earned from work.
Since compensation for KIT days is not set by law, it is essential that both parties clearly understand and agree on how KIT day payment will be handled ahead of time. That way, confusion or dissatisfaction is avoided later on.
Employers looking to incentivise KIT days amongst staff may decide to implement the first pay structure, where daily pay continues as normal, in order to encourage their employees to choose to undertake KIT days.
If this blog caught your interest, check out our maternity pay calculator for more information on SMP.
What are KIT days?
A KIT day is a day where an employee on maternity or adoption leave can work, or attend meetings, without ending their maternity leave.
What are SPLIT days?
A SPLIT day is a day where employees who are on shared parental leave can work, or attend meetings, without ending the parental leave period.
How many SPLIT days can you have?
Employees are entitled to up to 20 SPLIT days in the UK. They can be divided up between parents in whatever ratio is most practical.
How many KIT days can you have?
In the UK, employees on maternity or adoption leave are entitled to 10 KIT days.
Do you get paid for KIT days?
Yes, employees are entitled to be paid for KIT days, but the amount is subject to agreement between the employer and employee and should not be less than the statutory rate for the relevant leave period.
Can KIT days be half days?
Yes, a half day of work counts as a KIT day. Any amount of time spent working or attending meetings counts as a KIT day, unless the visit to work is purely social – ie. to introduce a new baby.