About Maternity Pay?

(55 Posts)
AhemExcuseMe Thu 24-Oct-13 16:03:38

So the baby broodiness has hit me hard recently. I'm still relatively young to start worrying about this and I never thought I'd be the type to start pining after a child but nonetheless it's the only thing I can think about!
I've obviously discussed this with my OH and he's worried about timings and costings. We have mortgage payments to make and although both of our wages have increased since we originally bought our house our spending has increased in line with this - we were frightfully frugal for the first year.

He would also like to get milestones like marriage and next job out the way and house renovations. An extravagant wedding is not something either of us are fussed about but to invite the families the expenditure would wipe out our savings.

To put his mind at ease I was doing the maths on how much I would be bringing in if I was on maternity. I want to make sure we wouldn't be in major difficulty or put too much strain on our savings.
The amount I'm entitled to came to £665 a month. I currently get paid nearly triple that after tax! How is that not going to put a strain on us and how are we expected to manage?

I know that your replies will probably be that we'll find a way to make it work but I'm worried about the logistics of it. There honestly isn't much we can cut back on and do I need to pay tax and does the cheque come in weekly or monthly instalments does it come from work or hmrc? Too many questions!! confused

TakingTheStairs Thu 24-Oct-13 16:06:05

It will be paid through your employers in the same way that your normal salary comes, monthly weekly etc.

hettienne Thu 24-Oct-13 16:06:56

SMP comes from your employer. You get the first 6 weeks at 90% of your salary.

Your two options are find a job that offers a good maternity package over SMP (eg. mine offers SMP+ 50% salary) and/or start saving some money to cover the shortfall.

Afaik the money will come as wages from work. Is it possible for you to put aside money now to save up a bit? You could also do a v cheap registry office wedding with v few guests.

One other thing to bear in mind though is the cost of working when you have children. Your family income will be reduced by the cost of childcare, which isn't cheap.

Lamu Thu 24-Oct-13 16:09:33

Most people save before or during pregnancy to cover the shortfall. Did include in your costings that you'd not be paying to travel to work? Or paying for lunch every day etc?

Doingakatereddy Thu 24-Oct-13 16:09:55

And it will be taxed.

Children are a blessing, but quite honestly they are also a life changer. Holidays, nights out, clothes.. Anything will be a distant memory.

If you're not both on the same page, I'd urge caution. Yep, your body clock is ticking but will waiting a few years hurt?

JoannaBaxterIsARudeFucker Thu 24-Oct-13 16:10:05

start saving now so that you can afford as much mat leave as possible.

I would go for very cheap wedding and save the money for a baby. The wedding is only a day.

NotYoMomma Thu 24-Oct-13 16:13:10

same as everyone else does I expect confused

WooWooOwl Thu 24-Oct-13 16:13:41

You save up so that you can afford to not be earning.

You aren't expected to manage and no one expects that it won't be hard. But no one is entitled to have children they can't afford.

SuperiorCat Thu 24-Oct-13 16:13:57

I'm not sure what your AIBU question is?

YANBU to research the costs.
YABU if you expect to get full pay.

If you want to have children you need to save up and expect to be skint until they are about 30

Xmasbaby11 Thu 24-Oct-13 16:14:57

Maternity leave is expensive, and going back to work is even more expensive with childcare to pay for.

You are right to be realistic about how much you need to save, or reduce your outgoings. Think years rather than months of cutting back.

luxemburgerli Thu 24-Oct-13 16:17:38

We are expecting our first and were shocked when we worked everything out too OP.

I agree that the main cost with the baby is child care and/or loss of earnings. It is eye watering here (not UK), and I imagine it is in the UK too. Actual things for the baby (e.g. clothes, bed) can mostly be obtained cheaply.

I'm on SMP at the moment and have been since April, and it has been a shock seeing the reduced amount entering my bank each month, but we've managed. If this is a future plan start squirrelling away some money every month now to top up your reduced income when you need it. I didn't have any savings to depend on, but we were lucky that a couple of outgoings have finished recently which has helped. Also, I spent a small fortune on commuting to work every day - I now put only a couple of quid in my car every so often to get me and DS to the shops/baby play/park etc.

Things like holidays have temporarily been put on the back burner, and little things like the fact that I don't drink as much now that I have DS or indulge in fancy meals in/out as often saves a little each week.
My last 3 months maternity leave will be completely unpaid, I am desperately trying to scrape together the pennies to enjoy the final few months I'm entitled to with DS rather than having to go back to work.

luxemburgerli Thu 24-Oct-13 16:20:23

Also, I second that some employers have good maternity leave packages, so it is worth looking at what your work offers. This can be a bit tricky without alerting everyone to your (vague) plans!

Dahlen Thu 24-Oct-13 16:26:56

If time is on your side, leave it for a while. Set a date to revisit the idea if it makes you feel better. During that time you can get married (please don't have a baby unless you are married or have taken other steps to protect your financial position in the event of a split) and save up to supplement your maternity leave.

NotYoMomma Thu 24-Oct-13 16:28:23

I dont understand how people are shocked. i really don't get it confused

I mean, they can't just salary match

most people do plan these things

luxemburgerli Thu 24-Oct-13 16:31:38

Well NotYoMamma, if you've never looked into it before it can be a shock to realise your income will/may drop to zero. Maternity pay is spectacularly crap IMO.

Writerwannabe83 Thu 24-Oct-13 16:45:09

I'm currently pregnant and thanks to my maternity package my wage will remain the same for the first 8 weeks. Then for the next 18 weeks it is half pay plus SMP which thankfully will only be a few hundred pounds under my normal pay anyway. After those 18 weeks I will get SMP only for 13 weeks. Any leave taken after this will be unpaid.

Me and Hubby anticipate that financially we won't actually be too affected until baby is 6 months old as this is when my SMP pay only will start. Ideally though I would like a full 12 months off.

Baby is due in 5 months and me and hubby are putting £300 a month away to cover maternity costs so that when SMP only comes into effect we will have about £3'000 put aside to cover the downfall.

AhemExcuseMe Thu 24-Oct-13 16:47:03

It was basically the shock. I'm trying to set my partners mind at ease but he's money orientated and he'll see it as losing out. I don't expect to have my way paid for me but I naively assumed my package with work wouldn't be the bare minimum.

I do have the funds to keep me fed but it's now seeming to me that Maternity leave is basically a long holiday that you can only take if you can afford it. I don't want to leave myself with no financial safety net for after a baby if I've spent my monies on supporting myself.

I would have liked to take a year off but it seems that if it comes to it I'll have to return to work much earlier. It just makes me sad

LittlePeaPod Thu 24-Oct-13 16:49:37

Hi Op

I agree with those that say if you have time then maybe consider waiting until you and your DP are both emotionally and financially ready. Bringing a baby into the relationship does create a different dynamic and can be stressful (even in pregnancy). Why add the financial pressure/stress to that mix if you don't need to. As well as the decrease in household income, you need to consider the increase in household expenditure:
- Pre baby arrival, costs associated to everything the baby will need from prams, car seats, necessary furniture, clothes, bottles, sterilisers, baby food and the list goes on...
-Post baby, food, clothes, nappies, childcare (starts around £2k a month where we live) and again the list goes on...

DH (41) and I (37) are due our first in 9 weeks and we have been shocked at the costs. And then there is the unaccounted for costs too. We are both in the high income bracket and we are both so glad we waited till now. I also work for an organisation that has enhanced maternity benefits. But everyone is different so if you think you are financially in a position to do it now, then I wish you both well with ttc.

JoannaBaxterIsARudeFucker Thu 24-Oct-13 16:56:13

Maternity leave is basically a long holiday that you can only take if you can afford it

Well, er, sort of grin

It's long term leave where you will be utterly knackered, quite possibly never sleeping more than 90 minutes three hours in a row, and often pissing yourself when you laugh. It will leave you poorer and greyer than you were before.

But it will be worth it. Start saving now.

Honestly, I started saving for my mat leave before I was even dating DH blush and I am so glad I did. Took the full year off with each child and didn't worry especially about money. I couldn't afford to do it again, but your outgoings will likely never be this low again . Save now.

hettienne Thu 24-Oct-13 16:57:26

OP, definitely sort out your relationship with your partner before you can married or pregnant! Would he not want to support you financially during maternity leave? If he is very money-orientated consider what would happen if you couldn't return to work (eg. you baby was ill/disabled, you became ill/disabled).

LittlePeaPod Thu 24-Oct-13 17:00:12

Marternity leave is basically a long holiday that you can only take if you can afford it

grin get your hard hat on op.

CrohnicallyTired Thu 24-Oct-13 17:01:05

Ahem- ironically, the lowest paid people actually benefit more from maternity pay. SMP is paid at 90% of your earnings for 6 weeks, then at a set rate of £130 ish a week for the remainder of the 9 months. To be honest, I never really noticed the difference between the two phases of pay, as £130 is more or less 90% of my pay. Therefore I didn't really need to save up to go on maternity.

If you are earning £2k a month, surely you or your partner can put some aside or make some cutbacks in other areas so you can afford maternity leave? As someone else said, you also have to bear in mind childcare costs, or loss of earnings due to one partner going part time etc, after maternity leave ends.

In fact, once maternity leave ended and I went back to work, I was far worse off than even on maternity leave- after paying childcare I was lucky to have £130 a month left, never mind a week!

CrohnicallyTired Thu 24-Oct-13 17:03:47

And yes, I know childcare is a joint cost. But when you work it out, it was either DH wage on it's own, or DH + my wage - childcare, so if my wage didn't cover childcare we would be worse off than without me working.

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