What are KIT and SPLIT days?
Keeping in touch (and shared parental leave keeping in touch) days are intended to facilitate a smooth return to work for medical staff returning from maternity, paternity or adoption leave, after a period of at least 3 months away from clinical practice.
Although not previously available to those returning from other forms of long-term leave, KIT days will soon be available to these trainees through the implementation of the SuppoRTT programme.
- Any trainee taking maternity leave of longer than 3 months is entitled to take KIT days
- Each trainee can take up to 10 KIT days per maternity leave
- Working part of one day counts for one whole KIT day use
- A trainee does not have to use all their KIT day allowance
- KIT days do not need to be used consecutively
- Using KIT days does not alter the duration of a trainee’s parental leave or affect their CCT date
- The use of KIT days is not compulsory
SPLIT days (Shared Parental Leave In Touch days)
These days are available to both parents taking shared parental leave. Under the guidance set by NHS employers, parents taking shared parental leave are entitled to 20 SPLIT days each. These SPLIT days can be taken in addition to the 10 KIT days that the mother is entitled to whilst on maternity leave. For example, a mother who chooses to take 6 months’ maternity leave followed by a period shared parental leave would be entitled to 10 KIT days during her 6 months of maternity leave and a further 20 SPLIT days during shared parental leave. The partner of the mother, also taking shared parental leave is entitled to 20 SPLIT days. The rules surrounding SPLIT days are the same as for KIT days, it is only the number of days which differs.
What can KIT/SPLIT days be used for?
- “Any work that enables a trainee to keep in touch with the workplace”;
- e.g. clinical work, local or regional teaching, speciality-specific training courses, generic life support courses, return-to-work courses, conferences, hospital induction, e-learning
- The work must be mutually agreed between the employer and the trainee;
- Neither employer or trainee can insist on what the KIT days are used for or when they are taken
- It may be possible to use study leave to undertake work deemed inappropriate for KIT day usage
- If applicable, the level of clinical responsibility of the trainee must be mutually agreed in advance of them undertaking any clinical work;
- A high level of supervision is strongly recommended if the trainee has been away from the workplace for more than two months.
When can KIT/SPLIT days be used?
- They may not be used during the two weeks of compulsory maternity leave immediately after the birth of the baby
- They may not be used once parental leave has finished and the trainee is back on payroll and receiving payment for accrued annual leave prior to their return to clinical work.
Pay for parental leave associated KIT/SPLIT days
- It is strongly advised that the details regarding pay for KIT days is discussed and agreed by the employee and their employer prior to undertaking any KIT days
- The employee will be paid at their basic daily rate for the hours worked, less the occupational maternity/paternity pay for that day;
- Additional “banding” is at the discretion of the employer
- Full day pay for less than a full day’s work is at the discretion of the employer, but most do this as a goodwill gesture, as additional costs and inconvenience (e.g. travel and childcare) are the same as for a full day
- Pay for a KIT day undertaken by a LTFT trainee should be the same as that of an equivalent grade full-time trainee (average daily hours x hourly rate)
- The Academy of Royal Colleges state that statutory maternity pay (SMP) should not be affected by KIT day pay. You should still receive this alongside your KIT day pay
- Pay for the KIT day should be received in the payroll for the month in which it is taken
- Any course costs incurred can usually be reimbursed by the employing trust through the individual trainee’s study budget, via the usual method for that trust, but this must be discussed prospectively
- Pay for KIT days is usually from the trust paying the parental leave pay, even if the trainee is due to return to work in a different trust and undertakes the KIT days in their new trust
- Trainees who are transferring in to a new deanery may have issues organising payment for KIT days from their previous trust. If so, they are advised to seek remuneration via the SuppoRTT programme and their local SuppoRTT Champion.
Additional financial considerations
- If KIT days are taken during the period of occupational parental pay (e.g. OMP), the pay for their KIT day will be less than if taken during/after the period of statutory pay (i.e. when the trainee is receiving solely SMP/MA or is on unpaid parental leave)
- If a trainee takes averaged occupational pay for their parental leave, taking a KIT day after 6 months of parental leave is likely to result in them being paid less than if they took the standard reducing occupational pay.
- Any employee who is breast-feeding must be risk-assessed and appropriate facilities provided;
- If trainee or their child were deemed to be at risk from the clinical KIT day work proposed, alternative work should be considered
- Medical indemnity cover may be required if clinical work is to be undertaken;
- It is suggested that the trainee prospectively arranges this with their usual insurer. The mainstream insurers all have policies relating to KIT day cover
- The trainee must have valid DBS clearance if undertaking clinical work
- If the trainee has not completed the trust induction where they are undertaking their KIT days, they must clear the arrangements with HR and only work in a supernumerary capacity. Alternatively, it may be possible to prospectively arrange an honorary contract
- Childcare arrangements are the responsibility of the trainee and can take time to organise
- Childcare costs can potentially be more than the KIT day remuneration, especially if KIT days are taken early in the parental leave
- NHS Employers states in their guidance: “To enable a trainee to take up KIT/SPLIT days, NHS employers should consider the scope for reimbursement of reasonable childcare costs or the provision of childcare facilities”. Trainees can therefore apply to their trust for additional funding to cover this, but its payment lies at the discretion of the employing trust
The full guidance from NHS Employers on KIT day pay can be found here.
Information relating to trainees returning from non-parental leave
This is a relatively new concept and is currently under development at both a regional and national level. We will keep you informed of any changes and will update the SuppoRTT website pages to reflect this also.
Organisation of non-parental and non-sick leave associated KIT-equivalent return-to-practice days
- It is strongly advised that the details regarding the logistics and organisation of these days is discussed and agreed by the employee and their current and next employers prior to undertaking any them
- It is hoped that (if applicable) a trainee’s current employer will allow the trainee paid leave in order to attend KIT-equivalent days
- The work situations of these returners will vary drastically and if there is any difficulty in the organisation of these KIT-equivalent days, the SuppoRTT team are happy to help. Please contact your local SuppoRTT Champion or SuppoRTT Hub team.
Pay for non-parental and non-sick leave associated KIT-equivalent return-to-practice days
- It is strongly advised that the details regarding the finances of these days is discussed and agreed by the employee and their current and next employers prior to undertaking them
- For those returning from paid non-clinical work e.g. OOPR, the default is that the current employer will allow the returner to attend these days as a form of paid leave
- Those only permitted unpaid leave or not in paid work at the time that they take the KIT-equivalent day are currently unable to receive a salary-type payment for these days from their trust or from HEE. However, there are ongoing discussions nationally and at HEE SW that hope to address this issue
- Under HEE’s current proposed way of working, there may be funding available for non-parental leave returners, in order to cover expenses and course costs. If you think that this could apply to you, please discuss it with your local SuppoRTT team.
Organisation and pay for sick leave associated KIT-equivalent return-to-practice days
- This is a complex issue and will require consideration on an individual basis
- Most trainees returning from sick leave will undergo a phased return to practice. This will usually involve input from the trainee, their ES, TPD and Occupational Health and the Professional Support Unit.