The Keeping in Touch provision can help your employee return to work after their parental leave.
Keeping in Touch allows an employee to remain connected to their workplace and helps them transition back into work.
Your employee can access up to 10 Keeping in Touch days from the time they become their child’s primary carer until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period without losing their entitlement to Parental Leave Pay.
You and your employee must both agree to take part in a Keeping in Touch activity. Either party can decide they don’t want the Keeping in Touch activity to take place.
Your employee can’t access a Keeping in Touch day within the first 2 weeks after the birth of their child. However, if your employee requests or suggests a day, and it’s more than 2 weeks after the birth they can participate if you agree.
If an employee participates in paid work before the end of their Paid Parental Leave period for any purpose other than Keeping in Touch, their Parental Leave Pay will stop. Your employee will also be considered as having returned to work if they access more than 10 Keeping in Touch days during their Paid Parental Leave period.
Keeping in Touch activities
If your employee participates in a paid work activity for the purpose of Keeping in Touch for 1 hour or more on a day, that will count as 1 Keeping in Touch day towards the 10 day limit.
Paid work activities covered under Keeping in Touch
A paid work activity for the purpose of Keeping in Touch should help your employee to:
- refresh their skills
- transition back into the workplace
- become familiar with new or updated processes, and
- be involved in forward planning discussions or meetings that may affect their role.
For example, your employee could:
- participate in a planning meeting
- participate in training, or
- perform work to become familiar with the workplace or their role before returning to work.
You and your employee need to agree on the type of paid work activity your employee will perform on the Keeping in Touch day.
Work activities not covered under Keeping in Touch
If your employee participates in a workplace activity they’re not entitled to receive any payment or benefit for, the activity won’t count as a Keeping in Touch day or return to work.
For example, Keeping in Touch doesn’t prevent your employee voluntarily attending the workplace to:
- visit colleagues
- participate in social events, or
- undertake other unpaid activities at work, such as accessing emails while on a social visit to the workplace.
If your employee participates in paid work for reasons other than to assist their transition back to the workplace, they’ll be considered as returning to work; for example, resuming regular paid work or doing a day’s work to cover an absent employee.
If you’re self employed, you’re able to keep an eye on your business without being regarded as having returned to work.
Key elements of Keeping in Touch
- Keeping in Touch activities are defined as paid work, so you must pay your employee for the work they perform
- Your employee can’t be on paid leave and perform paid work at the same time - if your employee accesses a Keeping in Touch day while on paid leave, their period of paid leave may need to be extended or the paid leave may be credited back
- Accessing a Keeping in Touch day while on unpaid parental leave won’t extend your employee’s unpaid parental leave period
- Work performed on a Keeping in Touch day will count as service and may have implications for your employee’s entitlements such as leave accrual
- You don’t need to notify us or keep formal records of Keeping in Touch activities; however, it is considered best practice and in the interests of both you and your employee to have a record of the agreed arrangements in place before the Keeping in Touch activity occurs.
Read more about Keeping in touch under the Fair Work Act 2009, on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
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