Can I do any work for my employer while on maternity leave?

Other than in the first two weeks after the baby’s birth (when you may not work), you may carry out up to ten days’ work for your employer (or employers if you have more than one) without losing any maternity pay or leave. These ‘Keeping in Touch' days (which are often referred to as 'Kit' days) might include attending a training day or staff meeting or actually doing a full day’s work. Anything you do on any day will count as though you had worked a full day (even if you only attend work for two hours). However, KiT days cannot be used to extend your maternity leave.

Your employer cannot force or demand that you work at any point during your maternity leave and KiT days must be by agreement between you and the employer, which should be reached in advance of you doing the work.

If you choose to work on a KiT day, you have no contractual right to pay over and above statutory maternity pay on those days, so any extra pay is a matter for negotiation and agreement. However, the National Minimum Wage must be paid and KiT days must not be discriminatory. To avoid discrimination, employers should usually pay their employees their normal pay, after off-setting any SMP received during the relevant week.

You should check that the additional pay does not jeopardise any benefits such as Tax Credits.

Especially if your workplace is unionised, there is likely to be a policy in place on payment for KiT days.

As a matter of good practice, your employer should pay you for a full day’s work if you attend work on a KiT day, even if you work a shorter day, since you will have incurred all the same costs, for example childcare and travel expenses, in order to come to work.

KiT days are also available for employees on statutory adoption leave.

There is a similar system in place for eligible employees who decide to opt into the new Shared Parental Leave system, where there is the option to take 'Shared Parental Leave Keeping in Touch' (SPLIT) days. Each person taking Shared Parental Leave can take up to 20 SPLIT days during their leave, provided that both they and their employers agree.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.