Employees on government-funded paid parental leave are entitled to go back to work for occasional days during this period of leave. Keeping in touch (KIT) days help ease employees back into work, while staying informed on changes in the workplace and catching up with colleagues.
During the period of paid parental leave, an employee can work for a total of 52 hours. They may work full days or part days, at a few hours at a time or do all 52 hours in a consecutive period. Whether an employee works a full day or part day, they must be paid their normal working wage.
Keeping in touch days do not affect an employee’s entitlement to government-funded paid parental leave.
As an employer, it is courteous and often a legal requirement to keep in touch with staff on maternity leave about developments in the workplace. For example, promotion opportunities or changes to policies and procedures.
By law, an employer must notify staff on parental leave about any major changes impacting their position or role in the workplace.
Employers and employees should talk about the kind of activities considered reasonable for keeping in touch days. These activities may vary depending on the employee’s position, industry and type of business.
Any activity performed on KIT days should contribute to an employee’s transition back to work. This means giving them the opportunity to:
Activities not covered under KIT days include: visiting colleagues, attending social gatherings and responding to phone calls or emails.
Company policy on keeping in touch days may vary slightly depending on the type of business, and should be clearly stated in the employment agreement. Regardless of the specifics, all policies must include the below terms and conditions:
If an employee works more than 52 hours while on parental leave or goes to work in the first 28 days of their child being born, they will be legally considered to be back at work. When an employee is considered to be back at work, they no longer receive parental leave payments and any further payments they receive will be viewed as overpayments.
Where an employee decides not to return to work after taking parental leave, the employment period will be considered to have ended at the start of taking maternity leave – not the last time they did paid work on a keeping in touch day.
For the final pay, an employer should not include any payments the employee received on KIT days when calculating the 8% gross earnings of leftover annual holidays.
For further information on how to incorporate keeping in touch days into your policy, or for tailored advice on managing pregnant employees and parental leave contact Employsure on 0800 675 700.