Contact During Leave
The following guidance should be read in conjunction with the relevant University Policy and Procedure.
Making advance arrangements for contact during family leave can be very beneficial, as good communication may:
- Enable the staff member to feel informed and/or involved in what is happening in the department during their absence;
- Enable the staff member to feel supported during the period of leave;
- Support the planning and progression of the staff member’s work during the absence and following their return;
- Reduce the natural anxieties that the staff member may have about being on leave from work or returning to work;
- Support a smooth transition into and returning from the period of leave.
It is essential that the staff member and their manager discuss and agree the arrangements for keeping in touch during the period of leave. It is important that contact arrangements are in place to ensure that the staff member is kept informed of changes or any issues which may affect them, particularly in relation to staffing structures in the department, as well as opportunities for internal vacancies.
As part of these discussions, it is beneficial to agree:
- The occasions where contact is made;
- The frequency of contact during the period of leave (i.e. monthly, quarterly or ad hoc as required);
- The preferred method of contact (i.e. phone, email, letter or a visit to work etc);
- The use of KIT days (Optional).
It is also important, at this planning stage, for the staff member and their manager to agree clear boundaries on contact and correspondence during the period of leave. This agreement should be appropriately communicated to relevant members of the department, to ensure that departmental colleagues are aware of and adhere to the agreed expectations.
Managers should recognise that some staff members may only wish to maintain minimal contact during their period of leave, which should be respected where requested.
KIT Days (OPTIONAL)
Keeping-in-touch (KIT) days are where a member of staff can agree to work for the University for up to 10 days (including part-time staff) during their period of leave, without that work bringing the period of leave to an end and without loss of a week's statutory pay. Further information can be found in Section 9 of the relevant University Policy and Procedure.
It is beneficial for the staff member and their manager to explore the use KIT days during the planning for the period of leave. At this stage, it is helpful to discuss how these KIT days may be used.
The following examples of how KIT days may be used are not exhaustive:
- Undertaking a specific project or task;
- Attending training courses;
- Attending meetings (i.e. team meetings, project meetings; departmental away day);
- Attending SRDS Review/Objective Setting (if the timing is appropriate)
- Acting as a interview panel member for departmental appointment;
- Handing over work in preparation for returning;
- Gaining updates in relation to any ongoing projects/activity e.g. if applicable liaising with any replacement cover for a research project enabling the staff member to ensure that they remain updated as to how the project is progressing against any action plan agreed before commencing the leave;
- As part of the staff member’s re-induction back to work.
A manual record of the days taken should be maintained to ensure that the employee does not exceed the statutory provision of up to 10 days. This is important as the member of staff would lose a week’s maternity/adoption pay for each week that the days over 10 KIT days worked fell within, even if it only involved a few hours of activity.
It is the responsibility of both the manager and staff member to ensure that reasonable contact is maintained during a period of leave and, where appropriate, adhere to pre-agreed arrangements.
- Before making contact, familiarise yourself with the information you agreed together to cover when keeping in touch. It may also be helpful to make a note in advance of any specific issues/information that you need to cover so that this can be discussed during the contact.
Further guidance and support
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you have any questions relating to all aspects of family leave, the FAQs below have been developed to support and guide both staff and managers.
If you need information, guidance and support relating any of the family leave provisions available to staff at the University of Sheffield, this can be found at the link below.
Juice, Everyday Health & Wellbeing
Juice helps you take care of your everyday health and wellbeing at work, bringing together a range of services, guidance and activities, creating a remarkable place to work and further information can be found at the link below.
Looking for something else?
There is a wealth of information, guidance and support available from Human Resources relating to all aspects of employment and supporting policies and procedures. An index of information can be found at: www.sheffield.ac.uk/hr/guidance/index
Alternatively, if you are unable to find the information you require, please contact your HR Team contact