Keeping in touch (“KIT”) days are often overlooked but can be a useful tool in supporting your return to work from maternity leave.  They can also help you to maintain a connection with your team while away and help you feel more comfortable about getting back up to speed when you return.

What are KIT days?

Employees on maternity leave are entitled to take up to ten optional days which allow them to work without impacting their entitlement to maternity leave and pay.

They were designed, as the name suggests, to allow employees to keep in touch with their organisation while on leave but there is no requirement for employees to use the days.

Keeping in touch throughout your leave might involve maintaining contact with colleagues or clients, attending training, conferences or strategy days, or having appraisal meetings.

How do they work?

Regardless of whether someone works full time or part time they can take up to 10 days during their maternity leave.  It is not possible to divide the days so only working part of a day still counts as 1 KIT day.  There isn’t a legal requirement for how much employees should be paid for working KIT days so it’s best to check your company’s maternity policy for more details.

The days can be taken at any time in your maternity leave apart from the first compulsory 2 weeks after your baby is born.

How can they be used to support my return to work?

If you haven’t opted to use any KIT days during your maternity leave but are heading back to work in a few months they can be a good way of helping you transition back into work mode and start catching up on what has changed while you have been away.

Spending 1-2 days per week at work in the month leading up to your return can help you think strategically about how you’d like to manage your return and what support you might need.  It’s also an opportunity for your child to get used to being cared for by someone else.

How to make the most of KIT days:

  1. Agree the date(s) of your KIT day(s) with your employer (manager and HR) in advance and discuss what a good use of the day(s) looks like.
  2. Ask for support in planning the day(s) – IT and security access is invariably an issue so ask someone to check that you can access the systems you need.  Colleagues can also book rooms for you and make sure you have time scheduled with key stakeholders.
  3. Take some time to think about key questions/topics to discuss with key stakeholders in advance.  It can also be helpful to reach out to any colleagues who have also returned from maternity leave to discuss their experiences.
  4. Try not to plan too much into the day(s) as there will be a lot for you to take in and it will probably be more tiring than you anticipate.
  5. Enjoy it!  Returning to work is daunting and is undoubtably a big transition but it’s an opportunity to reconnect with your colleagues and do something that is just for you.

This article was written by Karen Hedges, one of Careering into Motherhood’s Partner Coaches. Karen is a qualified career coach, HR professional and a single parent who supports working mothers navigating maternity leave or parenting young children. You can get in touch via her profile page or book a free discovery call to learn more about how she can support you.