KIT days: employment rights after maternity leave
The general rule while on maternity leave is that if you do any work for your employer, you lose your right to maternity pay for that week.
But there is a little bit of wriggle room as a result of 'keeping in touch' (or KIT) days, which allow you to do up to 10 days' work during maternity leave while retaining your right to maternity pay and preventing your maternity leave from being brought to an end.
There is also provision for KIT days if you are taking adoption leave or additional paternity leave.
You can arrange KIT days at any time during your statutory leave other than the first two weeks after childbirth, and can take them one at a time or in blocks of several days in a row.
Strangely, a day for the purpose of KIT is any part of a day. So even if you only do half an hour on a particular day, that counts as a whole day of KIT gone.
There are no rules or restrictions on what you can do as part of a KIT day. They are often used for training days, or for handover of information to the person who is replacing you, but you can do any sort of work, including working from home.
KIT days are not compulsory and your employer can’t use them as a way of making you work while on maternity leave if you don't want to.
Does my employer have to offer them?
No. You can't insist on having KIT days if your employer doesn't want to offer them. If your employer treats you badly because you considered taking KIT days, did undertake KIT days or refused to undertake KIT days, you may be able to bring a complaint to an employment tribunal.
But take advice quickly as the time limits are short (usually three months from the bad treatment).
How much should I be paid?
There is no set amount, so it is a good idea to sort out how much you expect to be paid for KIT days in advance. Your employer is allowed to reduce your pay by the amount of maternity pay you would otherwise receive for that day.
Natasha Joffe and Lydia Seymour. Please have a look at our disclaimer and bear in mind that the information provided is no substitute for specific advice on your individual case.