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FAQs: Parental Leave

Often as an employer, or manager, you will forget about the details of the unpaid parental leave NES entitlement.

The below information should assist you to have a working knowledge of the detail of Keeping in Touch Days and how to apply this to your business or the business you manage

Parental Leave FAQs

1. What is the purpose of Keeping in Touch days?

The purpose of these days is self-explanatory – it is so that the employee on parental leave can stay connected to their workplace and to facilitate a smoother return to work.

2. How many Keeping in Touch days can an employee access?

Just to clarify, employees, regardless of the length of the parental leave taken, can take up to 10 Keeping in Touch days during their parental leave period.

However, the expectation seems to be that a few Keeping in Touch days is sufficient and we would consider this particularly so if the period of unpaid parental leave is quite short, for example, 4 months.

3. What constitutes a Keeping in Touch day?

Anything 1 hour or more in length counts as 1 Keeping in Touch day.

4. What do businesses ask employees to do on Keeping in Touch days?

Some examples of activities are participating in a planning meeting, performing on-the-job training or performing work to practice skills she will use upon her return.

5. What happens if an employee takes too many Keeping in Touch Days?

It is really important that you stick to the 10 days, as otherwise the employee can be considered to have returned to work and you may be at risk of breaching the relevant laws for this reasons.

Also, if an employee takes more than 10 Keeping in Touch days, it can jeopardise their government-provided paid parental leave.

6. When can requests for Keeping in Touch days occur?

Either you or the employee can request the employee come in for a Keeping in Touch day.

You can ask the employee to come in for the purpose of Keeping in Touch more than 6 weeks after the birth of her child.  She can request or suggest a Keeping in Touch day as can you.

7. Can I make an employee come in for a Keeping in Touch day?

If the employee does not want to attend work for a Keeping Touch day, she does not have to.

8. What are the pay and leave entitlements for an employee you takes a Keeping in Touch day?

If she does attend, you will have to pay her usual rate of pay for the period she attends work.

9. What happens to the employee’s leave entitlements and accruals when Keeping in Touch days are taken?

It will not affect her unpaid parental leave entitlement but she will accrue annual leave and sick leave during a Keeping in Touch day for the period of attendance at work only.”