Keeping in touch days
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 6, 14 August 2020, page no.27
Many teachers who are on unpaid parental leave are unaware of their capacity to access paid keeping in touch (KIT) days, even though they have been available for some time.
The purpose of KIT days is to enable the employee to "keep in touch" with their employment, to facilitate a smooth return to work at the end of the period of parental leave. For teachers, this may take the form of attending student free days, planning meetings or professional development prior to the return to work. It is not intended for the purpose of performing the usual duties or undertaking supply work or supervision of students.
Employees on unpaid parental leave from the employer can apply to access paid KIT days, although receiving benefits from the Commonwealth paid parental leave scheme (CPPL) does not render you ineligible. The KIT day provision recognises that many parents reengage with the workplace and school prior to their paid return to work after long periods of paid and unpaid parental leave, and also undertake genuine professional duties in relation to their paid employment during this time. This provision formalises this arrangement and provides remuneration in recognition.
Employees can access up to 10 KIT days in total, which are paid at the teacher supply rate regardless of classification. It is important to note that KIT days are not to be processed as TRS days, and you are not paid to work TRS on KIT days. KIT days have their own unique payroll code, and the incorrect processing of these days as TRS may result in the cancellation of the CPPL payment.
Here are some of the important factors regarding access to KIT days:
- It must have the prior agreement of both parties.
- You cannot work 10 or more KIT days for the employer or another entity during the parental leave period, as to do so may result in the cancellation of your CPPL.
- The period of parental leave is not broken, nor extended by the employee working a KIT day.
- Where the employer is requesting the KIT day of the employee, it cannot be within 14 days of the child’s birth, adoption or surrogacy arrangements.
- Where the KIT day is sought by the employee, it is required to be 42 days after the child’s birth, adoption or surrogacy arrangements.
Information on KIT days can be found in the Queensland Industrial Relations Act (2016), the Parental Leave Directive (17/18) and the Department’s Parental Leave Procedure.