KIT Days Explained: Importance and Function

pregnant woman working from home on laptop symbolising KIT days

This article will explore what KIT days are, their importance, and how they work in a simple, informational tone.

What are KIT days?

KIT days, or Keeping in Touch days, are a provision within employment law that allows employees on maternity or adoption leave to work for up to ten days without affecting their statutory maternity pay or statutory adoption pay. These days are not just about work; they’re about maintaining a connection with the workplace, which can be especially crucial during extended leave periods.

Why are KIT days important?

They provide a flexible way for employees to stay updated with their workplace, easing the transition back after leave. For employers, KIT days are a tool to keep skilled workers engaged and informed, reducing the knowledge gap that might occur during an employee's absence.

The benefits of KIT days for both employers and employees are significant. For employers, these days help in planning and continuity. They can use KIT days to keep employees informed of any changes or updates in the workplace.

For employees, especially those on maternity or adoption leave, KIT days offer a chance to stay connected with their career, maintain their skills, and ease the anxiety of returning to work. It’s a win-win situation where the business retains its skilled workforce, and employees do not feel left out of the loop.

How do KIT days work?

KIT days are integrated within the maternity or adoption leave framework. They allow an employee to work up to ten days during their leave. These days are designed to be flexible and are not mandatory. It's a mutual choice for both the employer and the employee to engage in KIT days.

Number and distribution of KIT days

The law permits up to ten KIT days during the entire leave period. These days can be distributed as per the employee's choice – they can be spread out over the leave period and don't need to be consecutive. This flexibility allows employees to attend important meetings, training, or to catch up on work at intervals that suit them.

Payment for KIT days

For any work done on KIT days, employees should be compensated. The pay rate can vary but must at least meet the national minimum wage or the agreed rate in the employee's contract. The payment for KIT days is often balanced against the employee's statutory maternity pay or statutory adoption pay.

Maintaining reasonable contact

It is essential for employers to keep reasonable contact with employees on maternity or adoption leave, particularly to discuss KIT days. This contact should be sufficient to keep the employee in the loop but should not interfere excessively with their leave.

Returning to work post-leave

Post compulsory maternity leave, employees have the right to return to the same job they held before. KIT days play a crucial role in facilitating a smooth transition back to work, benefiting both the employee and the organization.

Benefits of KIT days for employers

Implementing Keeping in Touch (KIT) days offers a range of benefits for employers, from enhancing employee retentionto ensuring compliance with employment laws.

Improving employee retention:

KIT days can significantly boost employee retention. When an employee takes maternity or adoption leave, keeping them engaged through KIT days can make them feel valued and more likely to return to their old job. This is especially true if they're given opportunities to stay connected and contribute meaningfully during their leave.

Maintaining skills and knowledge:

KIT days help in maintaining the skills and knowledge of employees on leave. For example, an employee works a few days during their leave, like attending training sessions or participating in key meetings. This keeps them up-to-date with any new developments or changes in the workplace.

Enhancing workplace morale and culture:

The use of KIT days can positively impact workplace morale and culture. It shows the company's commitment to supporting work-life balance and respecting employees' needs, which can boost overall morale and foster a more inclusive culture.

Flexible work arrangements:

KIT days offer flexibility. They can be split days or even half days, allowing employees to gradually ease back into work. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for factory workers or those in physically demanding roles, as it provides a gentler transition back to full-time work.

Useful Read: Flexible Working Definition & Types

Legal compliance and fair treatment:

By offering KIT days as part of parental leave, employers demonstrate compliance with employment contracts and laws regarding maternity or adoption leave. It also ensures fair treatment of employees, preventing any feelings of unfair treatment during their leave.

For instance, an employee who is on unpaid leave for five weeks might use a couple of KIT days in between to stay connected without feeling left out.

Benefits of KIT days for employees

Keeping in Touch (KIT) days provide employees, especially those on maternity or shared parental leave, with essential benefits that support their professional and personal lives during this significant transition period.

Easing transition back to work:

KIT days greatly ease the transition back to work after a leave. For instance, an employee on compulsory maternity leave can use a KIT day or two in the last few weeks of their leave to re-familiarize themselves with their workplace, making the return less daunting.

Career development and training:

KIT days play a crucial role in career development and training. They allow employees to participate in relevant training sessions or workshops, ensuring they stay updated with the latest skills and knowledge in their field.

Balancing work-life responsibilities:

KIT days offer a way to balance work-life responsibilities. An employee can use up to ten keeping in touch days flexibly – as full or half days – which can be particularly helpful when adjusting to life with a new baby.

Financial benefits:

While on paid leave, using KIT days means employees get paid their normal rate for these days, which is often more than the minimum wage or statutory pay. It's worth noting that this can be a financial benefit during a time when managing expenses becomes more challenging.

Preventing unfair treatment:

By engaging in KIT days, employees can stay connected with their workplace in the same way as their colleagues, reducing the risk of being treated unfairly or feeling out of touch. This is good practice and helps in maintaining a sense of belonging and equality in the workplace.

How to implement a KIT day policy in your workplace

woman-working-on-laptop-sitting-on-bed-at-home-

Introducing a KIT day policy in your workplace requires a structured approach to ensure it is effective, fair, and in line with employment laws.

Step 1. Understand the legal framework:

Before implementing a KIT day policy, it's crucial to understand how many KIT days are legally allowed and the rules surrounding them. Typically, employees on maternity or adoption leave can take up to ten KIT days. Ensure your policy aligns with these legal standards.

Step 2. Update your employment contracts:

Review and update your employment contracts to include the KIT day policy. This should clearly state the number of KIT days available, how they are to be scheduled (e.g., not necessarily on consecutive days), and how pay for these days will be handled.

Step 3. Set clear guidelines for pay:

Determine how you will pay employees for KIT days. This might involve deciding whether the pay will be the same as their normal rate or a different amount, but it must at least meet the minimum wage requirements.

Step 4. Communicate the policy effectively:

Inform all employees about the new KIT day policy, ideally a few weeks or four weeks in advance. Make sure they understand the details, including how to request KIT days and the process for approval.

Step 5. Monitor and review the policy:

After implementing the policy, monitor its effectiveness and gather feedback, especially from those who have taken compulsory maternity leave immediately or soon after the policy’s introduction. Be open to making adjustments based on real experiences and feedback to ensure the policy meets the needs of both the employees and the organization.

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Conclusion

Implementing KIT (Keeping in Touch) days in the workplace offers significant advantages for both employees and employers. It not only aids in maintaining a skilled and engaged workforce but also supports employees during crucial life transitions, such as maternity or adoption leave.

By understanding the legal framework, clearly communicating the policy, and ensuring fair and effective implementation, KIT days can enhance workplace culture, boost morale, and contribute to a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

This simple yet impactful approach is an essential aspect of modern HR practices, benefiting the entire organization.

Employee
Rinaily Bonifacio

Written by:

Rinaily Bonifacio

Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.

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