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What are they? Are they compulsory? What work can you ask employees to do? And how much do you need to pay employees who work KIT days? Here’s our guide.

This is an expanded and updated version of a piece we first published in April 2016.

What are KIT and SPLIT days?

Keeping in touch (KIT) or shared parental in touch (SPLIT) days can apply to anyone on maternity or shared parental leave. If an employee is on maternity leave they can work 10 KIT days. If they’re taking shared parental leave they can also take 20 SPLIT days in addition to 10 KIT days.

When should KIT and SPLIT days be worked?

Employees can work KIT and SPLIT days at any time during a period of maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave with the exception of the two weeks of compulsory maternity leave immediately post-birth.

Are KIT/SPLIT days compulsory?

No. You can ask an employee to work on certain days but they don’t have to agree. And an employee can ask to work certain days, but as an employer you don’t have to agree to that either.

Can KIT/SPLIT days be split?

Yes. In fact they usually are, but there’s no set pattern for KIT/SPLIT days. Days can be used in blocks. They can be used individually although they can’t be broken down into fractions of a day. And as we’ve seen above, they don’t have to be used at all.

What counts as a day?

‘Days’ are treated rather flexibly when it comes to KIT/SPLIT. If you’ve asked an employee to come in for a meeting or for just a couple of hours’ training, that will use up a whole KIT day. In fact, according to The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 regulation 12A (2), any work carried out on a day constitutes a day’s work. There are limits, however. If the employee pops into the office to let everyone see the baby, that wouldn’t usually be classed as a KIT day because it wouldn’t be classed as work.

Does occasionally calling the employee to keep in touch count as a KIT day?

The operative word there is ‘occasionally’. If you call an employee every now and again to check on their wellbeing, it is unlikely to count as a KIT day. If the calls become more frequent and/or become more about work than the wellbeing of parent and baby, they could count as a KIT day.

What type of work can I ask an employee to do on a KIT day?

The simple rule of thumb is to stick to the work they would normally do, although if it’s included in their contract of employment, you can ask a worker to do it on a KIT day. This includes asking them to attend meetings or take part in training.

If the work is carried out remotely, is it still a KIT day?

Following the coronavirus pandemic, can you ask a member of staff to join an online meeting or training session, or to complete work whilst at home?

The standard KIT rules still apply, so yes, you can ask. But the employee does not have to agree and any time they do spend on work – even if it’s at the kitchen table whilst baby takes a nap – would be counted as a KIT day.

Do KIT/SPLIT days affect maternity pay?

No, providing the employee doesn’t attempt to use more than the allocated number. SMP or MA continue as normal.

What happens if an employee takes 11 KIT days during their maternity leave?

Your employee can take 10 KIT/SPLIT without any effect on the SMP. With the 11th, however, they will lose a week of SMP/SAP.

How much do I need to pay someone for KIT/SPLIT days?

The legislation is rather vague about payment, which leaves you with a number of possibilities:

  • If your employee’s contract sets out the payment rate for KIT days, you must follow the contract, which must set a level of at least National Minimum Wage, excluding SMP/MA payments.
  • If there is no contract, you must pay at least National Minimum Wage, excluding SMP/MA payments.
  • You can pay more than the minimum up to the employee’s full wage.
  • If you do pay more than the minimum, you have the option to offset any SMP against it, but you do not have to.

In the absence of a contract, it’s important to agree in advance what you’ll be paying, so payroll knows what to pay, and so the employee knows what to expect.

Are KIT days taxable?

Yes, just as all maternity pay is. It can, however, be tricky to work out. Outsourcing payroll to people with lots of experience of calculating such payments can make the process much easier and reduce the risk of error.

Should we offer KIT days?

KIT days can be a valuable way of ensuring employees stay up to speed during maternity or shared parental leave periods. They can also be used in the weeks preceding a return to work to ease an employee back into the swing of things.

KIT days are, however, voluntary on everyone’s part. So if you’re keen to take advantage of them, you might want to agree a more generous level of pay to encourage more staff to take part.

To arrange that, or to help you manage other maternity and wider payroll issues, talk to us.