Take your KIT days Keeping in Touch (KIT) days are optional, but employees are entitled to work up to ten days during maternity leave. Both the business and the employee need to agree to them, but they can be a great way to get back into the swing of things as maternity leave is coming to an end. Other than this, “reasonable” contact is permitted while an employee is on maternity leave. Clearly, this leaves some room for interpretation, but a business owner should not make an employee feel obliged to return to work. You are well within their rights to take the full 52 weeks, should you choose to do so. Returning to work Returning to your old job can seem daunting, especially if you have taken the full amount of maternity leave and things have moved on in your absence. There could be new faces, new procedures, and to top it off you yourself have a radically altered schedule that now has to factor in childcare. You may find it useful to request flexible working hours, or even if you can work from home some days. Your employer must deal with the request in a “reasonable manner” – such as weighing up the pros and cons and discussing the plan with you in a meeting. An employer can refuse a flexible working application if they have a good business reason, but if you feel they have been unreasonable you can take them to an employment tribunal. Overall, there are many factors that can affect how easy it is to return to work after a period of maternity leave. Small businesses may need all hands on deck, and financial pressures cannot be ignored – but, first thing’s first, make sure you know your rights, so you know what you are able to negotiate.
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