Keep in touch days
Planning your maternity/adoption leave can be a daunting prospect. As well as ensuring that you have completed all the right paperwork and working out how much time you can afford or want to take off, you need to get used to the prospect of being away from your job, workplace, colleagues and normal daily routine for a considerable period of time.
As a result, it is now quite common for mothers and adoptive parents to take up to 12 months off work on maternity/adoption leave. While a longer period of maternity/adoption leave provides you with more precious months at home with your children, it can also make the prospect of returning to work once it’s over much more daunting.
Keep-in-Touch (KIT) days can provide a number of advantages for both you and your employer for the smooth transition back after maternity/adoption leave.
KIT days are available to all employees who are eligible to receive Maternity or Adoption Allowance, irrespective of their terms and conditions of employment.
As part of the Social Security Maternity/Adoption Allowance, there is provision for those receiving Social Security Maternity/Adoption Allowance to work for up to 10 days during the Maternity Allowance/Adoption Allowance period without losing any benefit – these are known as KIT days.
You are not required to do any work whilst on maternity/adoption leave, but you can agree to work up to 10 KIT days – regardless of whether you work full or part time. Similarly, your manager is not required to offer such days to you, however KIT days can be a valuable way of helping you keep in touch with your workplace.
In addition to KIT days, it is good practice for both you and your manager to maintain reasonable contact during your maternity/adoption leave to:
- discuss plans for returning to work
- provide an update on developments in the workplace
- keep you informed about vacancies
- offer opportunities in employment engagement activities.
Reasonable amounts of contact do not count as work and are separate from a KIT day. To help facilitate this you may wish to discuss with your manager, prior to commencing your leave, the best form of contact for you.
You must notify Social Security, General Benefits if you do any work, including KIT days during your Maternity/Adoption Allowance period.
If you use up your 10 KIT days and you undertake any further work, you will lose a day’s Maternity/ Adoption Allowance for any additional KIT day you work.
Work you can do on KIT days
- take on some work
- complete a project
- attend training
KIT days should usually include work you might normally do under your contract of employment. Any work you do as a KIT day, even for as little as half an hour, will count as a whole KIT day.
KIT days do not apply to bank/relief work. Any bank/relief work you chose to undertake whilst on maternity/adoption leave from your full/part-time role will result in you bringing your period of maternity/ adoption leave to an end with immediate effect.
When you can take your KIT days
KIT days may be taken at any point during the maternity or adoption leave period except in the first 2 weeks after the birth/placement.
KIT days do not need to be consecutive. You can work single days, in blocks of 2 or more days or all 10 days consecutively but should always be agreed in advance with your line manager.
If work on a KIT day is overnight and spans midnight it counts as one KIT day but only if this is part of your normal working pattern.
You can also use KIT days to facilitate a period of part time working prior to returning to work if you and your employer both agree to this.
Payment for KIT days
A KIT day must be agreed between you and your manager before you undertake any work.
- If you work a KIT day during any period of leave attracting Maternity/Adoption Allowance then this entitlement will not stop.
- You will still be regarded as being on maternity/adoption leave providing you do not exceed the 10 day period.
Payment for any hours of work/training as a KIT day will be based on your normal hourly rate of pay.* Time off in lieu (TOIL) may be offered for KIT days as an alternative to payment.
Payment will be made on submission of an authorised claim form (via your manager) to Payroll and paid to you within the next available monthly pay even if you are not yet back at work.
Any work you do as a KIT day, even for as little as half an hour, will count as a whole KIT day, payment (or TOIL) is based on the actual number of hours you work/attend training*.
*Subject to this amount not exceeding your normal daily rate of pay, in the event you undertake a KIT day whilst you are still receiving an element of contractual pay.
Your manager will keep a record of the days you work and arrangements regarding pay or TOIL must be agreed prior to any work being undertaken.
Prepare for your Return to Work
It can take a while to adjust to work life and balancing work and a family is never easy.
You may prefer to work differently when going back to work after a period of maternity/adoption leave in order to balance your job and time with your family or childcare needs. Flexible working hours may be an option for you to consider. Whilst there is a legal right for an employee who has been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks to make a request for flexible working, there is no entitlement to flexible working following maternity/adoption leave. Your employer will need to consider the practical implications of your proposed working pattern and whether such a request can be operationally accommodated.
If you would like to raise the possibility of flexible working with your manager approach them as early as possible to discuss what opportunities there may be for flexible working in your area. Further guidance on how to request flexible working can be made available from your HR Advisory Team within the Office of Human Resources.
In keeping in touch with your manager during your maternity/adoption leave, it can be useful to develop a ‘back to work plan’ to help with your transition back into the workplace.
Coaching and mentoring
You may also wish to consider your personal development needs and whether you would benefit from some mentoring or coaching support. This could be provided by a colleague as part of your back to work plan and/or continuous professional development (CPD). Coaching support is also available from the Isle of Man Government Coaching Network via the Learning, Education and Development (LEaD) team. A coach can offer independent confidential development support at any point during and after your maternity/adoption leave in helping you to consider all the key aspects of a successful transition back to work.
If you feel you would benefit from some coaching and would like any further information regarding the Coaching Network within Isle of Man Government, please contact LEaD.