By Charles Power
‘Keeping in touch days’ are a great way of allowing employees on unpaid parental leave to work for you in order to ‘keep in touch’ with their employment, making it easier for them to return to that employment when their leave period expires.
Employees on unpaid parental leave may take up to 10 ‘keeping in touch days’ without affecting their NES entitlements.
An employee will be able to perform paid work for you on up to 10 ‘keeping in touch days’ while they are taking unpaid parental leave without breaking the continuity of their period of unpaid parental leave.
How it works:
- You are not obliged to give the employee ‘keeping in touch’ days.
- An employee cannot request to take a ‘keeping in touch ‘day in the 14-day period commencing on the date of birth, or day of placement, of the child.
- You cannot arrange a ‘keeping in touch’ day in the first 6 weeks after the date of birth, or day of placement, of the child.
- An employee can only take up to 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days during the available 12 month unpaid parental leave period. If their period of leave is extended, a further 10 days will be available.
- An employee taking a ‘keeping in touch’ day does not have to work a full day.
- You are obliged to pay the employee for performing work on a ‘keeping in touch’ day as if it was ordinary work.
- You cannot exert undue influence or pressure on an employee to work or not work ‘keeping in touch’ days.
- Unpaid parental leave is not extended by ‘keeping in touch’ days.
After a period of parental leave, an employee is entitled to return to the same job they had before they went on leave (or the job they had before they were transferred to a safe job or received no safe job leave).
Overall, an employee should not be disadvantaged in their career because they took unpaid parental leave. If possible, they should step straight back into their previous role.
For example, if an employee is promoted or voluntarily transferred while on leave, they are entitled to return to their new job.