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Returning from leave

Returning to work from any type of extended leave can involve a significant adjustment. Here we outline the types of support available to you during this period and provide some examples of how colleagues have prepared for and managed their return to work.

Keeping In Touch (KIT) Days

KIT (or SPLIT for Shared Parental Leave) days give you an opportunity to come into work during your period of leave to attend important meetings, catch up on developments in your area of work, or otherwise ease the transition back to work.

The best way to use them will depend on you and your role. Below are examples of how colleagues have used KIT/SPLIT days:

"I took three SPLIT days, one for each month of my SPL. I used these SPLIT days mainly to meet with the members of my research group to discuss progress and to deal with any issues. My students really appreciated it." - Ricardo Grau-Crespo, Department of Chemistry

"I took one of my KIT days to attend our team planning away day. Since arranging childcare would have been very difficult I was allowed by my manager to bring my baby along with me." - Ellen McManus-Fry, ASEO

"I took nearly all of my KIT days in the last couple of months. This helped to supplement the unpaid weeks and allowed me to meet with the team to get updated and re-settle, by attending team meetings etc. and get used to being back at work." - Lindsey Keys, Henley Business School

"I took around five KIT days in total, usually for around three or four hours per day. Each KIT day was spent learning about projects and changes to be aware of before returning to the office. It helped take away anxiety about returning to work, as I had already been given an idea of what to expect before returning properly."- Nicola Lower, Marketing, Communication and Engagement

Flexible Working

When you return from leave you may find that the hours or days you were working before you took leave no longer fit in with your life. For example, you may need to work around nursery or school hours, or want to limit the amount of external childcare you use. The University's flexible working policy can be used to request a change to your working hours/days.

Information on flexible working at the University of Reading, including the link to the flexible working request form, can be found on the Human Resources - Flexible Working pages.

For more tips on how to make flexible working work for you, watch the recording of our event all about flexible working, available on Microsoft Streams (university login required):

If you need to attend formal meetings to discuss your flexible working request and would like a colleagues to accompany you in those meetings, support is available from the Staff Forum (

Funding to support your return to work

Funding is available for anyone returning to work after an extended period of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave. It is available for a period of 12 months after your return and is intended to help you successfully transition back into your role. The way that this funding can be used will depend on the School or Function you belong to but could cover things like attending training courses or conferences or covering relief from teaching. You should discuss your options with your line manager before you return to work. More details are available in the Maternity Policy.

See below for an example on how one colleague has taken advantage of this funding:

"I've kept growing in my skill sets and was promoted while working part-time. I have a five-year-old daughter and one-year old twins. I recently returned from maternity leave and have embarked on the Aurora Development Programme (my space was held for my return) and my additional childcare costs are covered by the new reimbursement that is now available" - Jess del Rio

You can read more on Jess' profile at Faces of Reading