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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.

Contact with employees

inc. on maternity leave

What you need to know


Contact with employees on maternity leave

What contact must I have with a woman on maternity leave?

You must contact her about:
a. Any reorganisation, or other changes, that affect her job.
b. Any promotion or other job opportunities, explaining what she needs to do to apply.
c. Possible or planned redundancies.

What should I discuss with the employee about contact during leave?

Before your employee starts her maternity leave it is good practice to discuss:

  • How much contact you will have.
  • What form the contact will take, for example by email, access to the intranet, letter or telephone call.
  • What the contact should cover, for example about staff leaving, new staff who have joined, training events, social activities.
  • Whether your employee wants to receive news bulletins. 
  • When an appraisal will be held, if it is due during her maternity leave.
  • If she wants to take part in any training.
  • Keeping In Touch days and the pay for such days.
  • Other information that the employee would like to receive.

It is good practice to explain to the employee:

  • There will be times when you are legally required to contact her, e.g. if  there is a redundancy situation or where there are developments that affect her job, promotion possibilities, new job opportunities.
  • She is not under any obligation to work during maternity leave.
  • If she wants to attend training, you will provide details of any training taking place and she should say what training she can attend.
  • The payment arrangements for any days worked.
  • Apart from times when you must contact the employee, you will provide as much, or little, contact as agreed.

Keeping in Touch (KIT) and Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days

What are KIT and SPLIT days?

If you agree, an employee can work for up to 10 days during her maternity leave without this affecting her entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay. These are called KIT days.

If an employee takes shared parental leave (SPL) she and her partner if they take SPL, can each work a further 20 days during SPL. These are known as SPLIT days.

Can I ask an employee to work during her maternity leave?

You can ask an employee to work, but you must not require an employee on maternity leave to work .You must not treat her in a less favourable, disadvantageous or detrimental way. Working during maternity leave is voluntary for the employee.

Must I offer an employee KIT or SPLIT days?

No, you are not legally required to offer an employee KIT or SPLIT days.

Must I pay an employee if she works during maternity leave?

You are not legally required to pay for KIT or SPLIT days. You should note that you may have to pay for a KIT or SPLIT day depending on what the day involves. See page 62 of the Department of Employment and Learning's publication:

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