How long do most people take as maternity leave?

(64 Posts)
Gangle Sat 13-Feb-10 23:20:15

Are most people going for a full year? People I have spoken to really vary but get the impression 9 -12 months is average. Not many seem to take only 6.

ChasingSquirrels Sat 13-Feb-10 23:21:22

I took about 9mo with ds1 - the max I could take at that time, and went back when he was just shy of 7mo.

With ds2 I was off 15mo in total - going back when he was nearly 14mo.

gaelicsheep Sat 13-Feb-10 23:26:04

I don't see how I can possibly take more than 6 months. £100 a week is not going to feed my family for very long - 8 weeks will be a push as it is.

I'm amazed that anyone who needs to work for primarily financial reasons can afford to take more than 6 months tbh.

AmpleBosom Sat 13-Feb-10 23:30:01

I have taken 6mths all three mat leaves in 2005, 2007 and 2009 sad

Gangle Sat 13-Feb-10 23:33:10

Lots of people seem to afford it gaelicsheep. Perhaps they save up. I went back after 7 months with DS for a combination of financial reasons and career reasons but know of others on lower salaries who saved up/budgeted to that they could take longer. Or they work for companies like BT or the BBC who give very good maternity packages.

ChasingSquirrels Sat 13-Feb-10 23:35:41

We afforded it because ex was well paid and we don't have an expensive lifestyle.
I only got statutory ML.

gaelicsheep Sat 13-Feb-10 23:36:04

If only we had any spare money for saving up sad. All our disposable income is going on making the house safe and habitable for a newborn (plus our toddler). Perhaps if my re-grading decision ever comes through. <sigh>

gaelicsheep Sat 13-Feb-10 23:37:29

I guess it would also depend whether the woman is the main breadwinner (I am).

LowLevelWhingeing Sat 13-Feb-10 23:41:34

BBC give exceptionally good packages! (i hear)

It must depend on income before/during mat leave. If you're used to £100 a week and that works fine with you family earnings, then you can afford longer. Or, obviously, if you have a wealthy DH. If you're used to living on £100 a week then it's no different.

I had an average mat leave pay, ie, 6 weeks 90% pay, 20 weeks (?) 50% pay, and took 9 months and 7 months.

BUT, if I had another (by accident probably), I would take less because it was much harder than I anticipated.

PrivetDancer Sat 13-Feb-10 23:42:41

I took 9 months the first time. If I manage to get pg again I think I would take the full year as I would rather not put a future dc in nursery quite so early if I have the choice.
I get 6 months full pay for ml, so am v lucky.

gaelicsheep Sat 13-Feb-10 23:47:35

Saddo that I am, I would also worry very much about leaving my job for more than 6 months - both from the pov of my career and the wellbeing of the system I manage! But I am in the fortunate position of having a DH that is a SAHD so I'm not talking about having to put a 6 month old in full time nursery.

I didn't set out to be a working mum and breadwinner, it's just kind of how it turned out. I am definitely the exception at work, even in working full time. But now that I am in that position, I'm kind of stuck with not having the luxury to take a year off. It sucks actually. I think also that if I did take longer than 6 months it would be that much harder to leave my children and return to work full time.

Gangle Sun 14-Feb-10 00:03:56

That's my main worry too - being out of the loop for that long plus letting down my boss who really expects me to return at 6 months. I agree that it's harder to go back the longer you leave it but at the same time you never get that time back so I'm thinking that I should take as long as we can afford.

gaelicsheep Sun 14-Feb-10 00:09:01

It's funny - everyone at work, including my manager, seems really surprised when I say I will be back after 6 months - all being well obviously. When they extended paid mat leave to 9 months I really really which that work had extended the half pay part of the mat leave, or preferably the 9/10ths bit at the beginning, and not just the minimum SMP. sad

monkeyfeathers Sun 14-Feb-10 00:11:12

I took 6 months but really wish I could've taken a full year. DP is just about to start working, but until now I've been the sole earner so we rely on my salary. A little over £100 a week is just not going to pay our bills. I lumped all my annual leave on to the 4 months on full pay my employer gives to get 6 months on full pay. Going back has been very difficult though.

gaelicsheep Sun 14-Feb-10 00:12:48

I don't get any full pay period at all. 6 weeks at 9/10 pay, 18 weeks at half pay plus SMP and the rest SMP only. Is that unusually mean or the norm do you reckon?

gaelicsheep Sun 14-Feb-10 00:14:03

Oh I see that LLW had the same. I guess it's pretty normal then.

bluejeans Sun 14-Feb-10 00:20:08

I only took the statutory 18 weeks plus 2 weeks holiday 10 years ago with DD and regret it now - but I really couldn't afford to be off for longer.

Thank goodness things have improved since then, but I do feel it's very difficult - most of my friends who've had babies recently have felt under pressure one way or another to either stay off longer or go back sooner

Linnet Sun 14-Feb-10 00:20:58

With dd1 I took 12 weeks as that was all you got back then.

With dd2 I took my full 6 months then added my holiday leave onto the end of it,so I was off for around 7 months.
I could have taken a full year off but the second 6 months were unpaid and I couldn't afford to do that.

gaelicsheep Sun 14-Feb-10 00:26:28

You're right about pressure both ways bluejeans. I didn't properly realise until this thread that I actually feel very guilty for only planning 6 months when I could theoretically take 9 months "paid". But that's one hell of a lot of lost income to cover and when you're paid a pittance to begin with it is very very difficult to save anything like enough (especially if said pregnancy is, um, unplanned).

ChasingSquirrels Sun 14-Feb-10 00:40:15

I think for most people that statutory is the norm.

lowrib Sun 14-Feb-10 01:20:51

"I'm amazed that anyone who needs to work for primarily financial reasons can afford to take more than 6 months tbh."

One word gaelicsheep -

***mortgage holiday!!!***

(Sorry that's two words isn't it!)

Many mortgages will let you not pay for 6 months when you're on maternity. I only found out about this by accident. If I hadn't I'm not sure what we would have done.

I've just gone back to work at just over a year.

We've been pretty skint but it's definitely been worth it.

I do think women come under enormous pressure to return to work earlier than they might otherwise.

lowrib Sun 14-Feb-10 01:27:01

Also, for those of you who are worried about not being able to afford time off - do you know about Child Tax Credits and Working Tax credits?

We didn't claim these till much later than we should have done (stupidly!) but for those of you on a relatively low income, these really can make a noticeable difference.

We get over £100 a week from CTC and WTC, at the moment, for example.

I am rather inebriated so have not read all the posts except the OP - so....

I have my friend here who is a HR bod. She says...

"most people end up taking a year. Don't forget you accrue holiday throughout, so will get the money for this."

PureAsTheColdDrivenSnow Sun 14-Feb-10 01:29:21

first pg I took the whole 12mo. I got paid full pay for the first six, then stat until 9mo (extremely good benefits at my job)

If I am pregnant, then next time I will go back after 9mo, if not sooner.

PureAsTheColdDrivenSnow Sun 14-Feb-10 01:31:41

gaelicsheep - are you ok? from other posts of yours you semem stressed x

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