Keeping In Touch Days

Hands up! Who’s heard about Keeping in Touch Days?

I’m amazed how many mums I’ve met over the last three years that haven’t heard or don’t know about Keeping in Touch Days (KIT Days). The same is true for many line managers when you question them about KIT Days and land up having to dig out your staff handbook or referred to HR.

I’ve known of KIT Days when I started working over 12 years ago when my former line manager went on maternity leave. At the time, I thought what a brilliant idea and something I’ve always planned on doing if I went on maternity leave.

In 2015, I went on maternity leave for a year and I had agreed with my line manager that I would do KIT days to stay in touch, and most importantly, to make sure my project work stayed on track and my role wouldn’t change.

Looking back at my maternity leave, I’m pleased I did my KIT days as it helped with the transition back to work and maintain a good working relationship with my line manager. I actively promote KIT Days to my colleagues and soon to be mum friends as it’s still an entitlement that is not well promoted in the workplace. I also want to promote KIT Days to the readers of Mam Cymru!

What is a Keeping in Touch Day?

KIT Day is a day in your workplace to help you keep in touch with your line manager and take a few hours of work without affecting your Statutory Maternity Pay. You can also have KIT Days if you are on Adoption or Additional Paternity Leave.

KIT Days are voluntary on your part – your workplace cannot force you take them.

How many days can I work?

You can take up to 10 KIT days during your maternity leave.

Do I get paid?

YES! You will be paid your normal daily rate. KIT Days are great to top up your maternity pay, especially if you only receive Statutory Maternity Pay. More details on finances below.

How can I use my Keeping in Touch days?

  1. Spend a day with your line manager and/or the person who is covering your role during maternity leave. A good opportunity to clear your email inbox, catch up with office gossip and drink hot tea/coffee!
  2. Meet with your suppliers and clients – great way to maintain working relationships.
  3. Attend training courses and industry conferences – Stay up to date with developments as well as networking within your industry. Great to challenge your brain, especially if you’re suffering from baby brain!

The benefits of Why a KIT Day?

Keeping in touch with your workplace and your colleagues while you’re on maternity leave. Simple!

It’s safe to say that most new mums worry about what will happen to their job while they are on maternity leave, so by arranging a KIT day with your employer it will help you stay up to date with changes with work and your role (if any).

Also, it will help you start the conversation and process of requesting flexible working hours if you intend to return to work on a reduce house basis.

The other benefits are:

  1. It will make the transition back to work after maternity leave a bit easier – It’s not going to be easy to return to work and adjust to a new work/life balance, but a bit less of a shock if you’ve done a few KIT Days.
  2. You’ll feel better prepared for returning to work – you’ll be on top of your emails, up to date with changes with your workplace and the industry you’re working in and know exactly what work will be like in the future. You’ll hit the ground running on your first day back from maternity leave.
  3. The best part is – You’ll be paid your normal daily rate for a KIT Day and it won’t affect your Statutory Maternity Leave payments. Great little top up to your income while on maternity leave.

Negatives?

The only down side is trying to find childcare for the day. Fingers crossed, your partner or family members should be able to help here and support your wish to do a KIT Day. Just mention to your partner that you get paid…that usually works!

Let’s talk finance!

Before you arrange a KIT day with your employer, have a look at your maternity pay schedule first.

Every employer offers a different maternity pay package, from the basic Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) of 90% full pay for 6 weeks, then statutory pay for 33 weeks, to enhanced Maternity pay of full pay for 26 weeks then statutory for additional 13 weeks (for example Welsh Government’s Maternity Pay).

If you only receive the SMP, the payment from a KIT day will help top up your income after 6 weeks, then again after 33 weeks where your income will be nil.

If you receive an enhanced Maternity pay from your employer, have a look when your income will drop during your maternity leave for example after 39 weeks/9 months. If you identify the periods where your income is reduced, try arrange a KIT day then to receive payment.

It’s slightly confusing and I can’t speak for every employer, so it is best to contact your HR or Pay Roll department to work out when its best to arrange your KIT day to top up your income during maternity leave.

What next?

Details about KIT Days should be in your employer handbook or speak to your line manager / HR Department. If they try say that they do not offer KIT Days or deny knowledge of this, forward this government website to them: https://www.gov.uk/employee-rights-when-on-leave

Enjoy your maternity leave!

By Teleri Evans

Leave a Reply