KiT / SPLiT / RTTA Days
What are KiT, SPLiT and RTTA days?
Introduced by the government in 2007, and available to all employed workers in the UK, Keeping in Touch (KiT) days are intended to facilitate a smooth return to work for staff returning from maternity leave.. In 2015, Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLiT) days were introduced to provide equity between all parental leave returners. RTTA (Return To Training Activity) days are a new SuppoRTT initiative and are essentially KiT-equivalent days for non-parental leave returning doctors in training.
KiT and SPLiT Days for doctors in training
KiT days - the basics:
- 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
These days are available to both parents taking shared parental leave. Introduced in 2015, government legislation now ensures that 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 an employee 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/SPLiT days are used for or when they are taken
- It may be possible to use study leave to undertake work deemed inappropriate for KiT/SPLiT 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 can be used at any other time during the period of parental leave
- A recent press release by the BMA confirms that if a trainee works a KiT/SPLiT day during the period of accrued annual leave at the end of their parental leave, they can claim an extra day of annual leave in lieu upon their return to 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 and statutory maternity/paternity pay for that day;
- Additional “banding” is at the discretion of the employer
- If the KiT/SPLiT day is taken during the period of full occupational parental pay, the trainee will not receive any additional financial reimbursement, but will be eligible to claim a day off in lieu following their return to work
- If the KiT/SPLiT day is taken during the period of half occupational parental pay, they will receive a day’s pay minus any parental leave pay. They will also receive a half day off in lieu following their return to work
- If the KiT/SPLiT day is taken after the period of occupational parental leave pay has finished, they will receive full payment for the day, less any statutory parental pay/parental allowance
- Recent contract negotiations between NHS Employers and the BMA have ensured that trainees can now take KiT/SPLiT equivalent days during the period of accrued leave immediately prior to their return to work. No additional KiT/SPLiT day financial reimbursement will be offered, but the trainee will be eligible to claim for an additional paid day off in lieu following their return to work, in return for the work undertaken on the day of annual leave. Each trust will manage this process separately and it needs to be discussed and planned in advance with the local HR/clinical department.
- Pay for the KiT day should be received in the payroll for the month in which it is taken
- 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
- 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
- If the trust only agree to reimburse 50% of the course fees (i.e "Aspirational" courses), then trainees are advised to prospectively complete a RTTA Funding Request form, as the SuppoRTT programme may be able to reimburse the other 50%. Advice on the process is detailed below. Please note that RTTA funding in these circumstances is only available for course fees. Associated expenses should be claimed in full (up to the current deanery maximums) from study funding
- Trainees who are transferring in to the South West from another region 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 a trainee takes averaged occupational pay for their parental leave, we advise that they discuss the financial and lieu day reimbursements for KiT/SPLiT days with their employer at their earliest opportunity. Reimbursement should be equitable, but there is no specific NHSE guidance on such cases at present.
- 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 an employee 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
- Any employee who is breast-feeding must be risk-assessed and appropriate facilities provided;
- If the 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
The full guidance from NHS Employers on KiT and SPLiT days can be found here.
This is a relatively new concept and is currently under development at both a regional and national level. We will update the SuppoRTT website pages to reflect this.
Supported Return To Training aims to provide equitable support to trainees returning to work from all types of prolonged leave. Return To Training Activity (RTTA) days are KiT equivalent days for non-parental leave returners.
Organisation of Return to Training (RTTA) 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 RTTA days
- The work situations of these returners will vary drastically and if there is any difficulty in the organisation of RTTA days, the SuppoRTT team are happy to help. Please contact your local SuppoRTT Champion or SuppoRTT Hub team for more advice.
Pay for RTTA days
- It is strongly advised that the details regarding financial reimbursement of RTTA 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 RTTA day are currently unable to receive a salary-type payment for these days from their returning trust or from HEE
- Funding is available to cover expenses and course costs, from SuppoRTT
- Each RTTA activity will require a separate funding request
- Requests for funding will be assessed +/- approved by the local SuppoRTT Champion
- The maximum budget per trainee, per return episode is capped at £600
More information on eligibility and the application process for RTTA funding can be found here.
The RTTA Funding Request form can be accessed here.
Sick leave associated RTTA 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.