Are you cutting your maternity leave short due to money worries?

(104 Posts)
RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Mar-13 10:22:26

According to research published today, a third of new mothers are planning to return to work after just six-eight months on maternity leave because of financial pressures - Telegraph article

The survey, which was carried out by MoneySupermarket.com, also shows that one in three expectant mothers will receive only statutory maternity pay.

Justine is quoted in the Metro article on this, she has said "There are all kinds of financial pressures on parents, whether it's the dip in salary whilst on maternity leave or the rising cost of childcare. It's great to budget if you can, but hold fire on buying a multitude of baby products in advance."

What do you think? Does this ring true for you? If you've cut your maternity leave short because you're worried about money, what effect has that had on your home life? And do you think the government's doing enough to support new parents?

It really does feel harsh that if you weren't working and you got pg you would qualify for a council flat and benefits but if you are working you get 6 weeks at 90% of your salary and then you're down to stat pay, esp when you possibly have a mortgage / rent / council tax / utility bills to pay, a car to run etc etc.

I work in the community sector and some of the ladies I work with (and i am also v friendly with) do live in council houses and lived off benefits when their kids were younger and they still manage to have money for holidays in the USA, new clothes, getting their hair done etc. when people struggling with mortgages etc. can't afford any 'luxury' items and are under a lot of financial pressure to return to work when they have very young babies.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:01:43

We could have just about managed for me to take the extra four months, but I didn't want the stress of worrying about money, so went back.

aufaniae Tue 26-Mar-13 18:15:08

LittleMissSniwShine do you have to use this thread to spread that kind of rubbish, really?

Implicit in your post is the idea that working peoe should be jealous of people on benefits, which is, quite frankly, bollocks. Most people's experience of benefits if out of work, is of a very demoralising, difficult time which they are desperately trying to get out of. It certainly was mine! I had much more disposable income when working than I ever had or is possible on benefits. Being on the dole is really, really tough. I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing this nonsense about people living the life of Riley while on the dole. I don't know how the people you know managed holidays to the US but it's so far out of the reach of the reality of families with no income from work as to be laughable.

Please, take your fantastical digs at people on benefits elsewhere, that's not what this thread is about.

aufaniae Tue 26-Mar-13 18:35:22

Anyhow, back to the thread topic!

DC2 is due in 2 weeks. I have no idea how long i'll be able to take off. I'm not entitled to any mat leave, SMP or benefits (besides CB and CTC) as I'm an intermitting student. I'd love to take a year off (like last time) but we'll just have to see how it goes. DP is also a student, just about to finish so it depends on what job he gets and how soon! No pressure there then! ;) we're lucky though that our outgoings are pretty low, and also we rent a room to a friend, so I'm hoping we can manage.

When I had DS 4 years ago, I discovered by accident that my bank (Halifax) did mortgage holidays of up to 6 months as standard for maternity, all you had to do was ask and present proof. I'm so glad we found that out or we would have really struggled. Instead we simply didn't pay the mortgage for 6 months, and I was able to take the whole year off, which was really valuable to us as a family. That time really is so precious,

FierceBadIggi Tue 26-Mar-13 19:37:06

I've taken the full year. Credit cards are a wondeful thing. With dc1 we took first two years off between us, dc2 not going to be so lucky.
As well as cost of living being higher, we've had a pay freeze for several years and aren't eligible for tax credits under new system, which we had with dc1. Also had savings before we had first child, years of part-time working means we had none this time round.
Also paying off the doctor who helped us have dc2!

Signet2012 Tue 26-Mar-13 19:41:48

I am returning to work in May, I have taken the 39 weeks. My maternity package was 6 weeks at 90 percent and then the rest at statutory.

However, I am taking a wage cut of around 700 pounds per month so in effect I will be returning to work to earn what I get now on SMP.

My previous role was FT (approx 60 hours per week) permanent on call situation and taking work home with me. Not prepared to do that with a lo.

I am going back to do two night shifts as a basic level support worker (3 levels lower than my previous role) on minimum wage. Its going to be hard, Im not totally sure how we will manage it. I don't have any childcare options and I would be working to put a child in nursery. It doesn't work with the hours I would need to work. Its upsetting that my hard work to progress has been for nothing but its not realistic for me to carry on that role whilst having such a small child. The night shifts mean I can stay awake at work all night, then come home and have baby all day, going to bed on the evening when she does - not sure how realistic this will be!

Next time round I will save more, if possible! I really don't want to go back to work at all, whether its 3 months or 12! Never thought I would say this but I would love to be able to stay at home with her but in this climate its not an option for us.

Svrider Tue 26-Mar-13 20:04:08

I had to go back when dd was less than 4mo due to finances
She was EBF and I couldn't express milk
Had to wean her early, so i could work
sadsadsad
angry

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Mar-13 20:06:13

Yes, am going back wo work in a months time. DS2 will be 7.5 months, I feel he's too young to leave, but have little choice.

Whatwhatwhat Tue 26-Mar-13 20:14:34

Self employed. Took 3 weeks first time around and will do the same this time.
No regrets. My business/clients would be gone if I took any longer, too competitive.
Breast fed morning and evening til first was 15 months old.

Iggly Tue 26-Mar-13 20:35:47

Yes with my second I went back when she was 9 months. My first I went back at 15 months. It was harder second time around as dd felt too young. I think children generally do better with their parents so it kills me to go to work. This society is incredibly selfish and narrow minded - we don't value the part that our children will play. They are our future. Instead we see them and anyone who has them as a burden, our working world revolves around making us and them adapt to what is essentially a mans world.

Rant over.

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Tue 26-Mar-13 20:52:22

I am going back after 6 months plus AL. This is the second time I will have done this. It is for financial reasons. I am the main earner and I am paid an enhancement on statutory maternity pay. However, if I didn't have generous parents and grandparents, I would have had no choice but to go back after 6 weeks. I will be working FT. I will find it hard to start off with but am happy with my childcare arrangements and do enjoy my job, plus it is a necessity, so I will get on with it. Am grateful for 6 months with each of my babies. More time would have been lovely, but financially impossible.

BettyandDon Tue 26-Mar-13 20:58:53

No I saved £20k before I had children and I'm not yet planning on going back. It's been nearly 3 years.

expatinscotland Tue 26-Mar-13 21:00:39

After 'just' 6-8 months? That's quite generous, IMO.

Bridgetbidet Tue 26-Mar-13 21:11:27

I took 9 months leave + 2 months leave. I was only on maternity allowance as I hadn't been at my work long enough. That was £500 a month. Got no further help with tax credits etc as my previous years earnings were too high.

Just about squeaked through but it was very tough.

Treats Tue 26-Mar-13 21:17:44

With DD, I went back at six months - mostly through choice.

Currently on mat leave with DS, and I'll be returning after nine months when my 39 weeks SMP runs out. As long as I'm getting SMP, then I'll earn more money than I will by returning to work and having to pay for a season ticket and two lots of childcare. Honestly, I'd probably prefer to return after six months again, but financially it doesn't stack up.

ThePskettiIncident Tue 26-Mar-13 21:25:24

I went back to work earlier than I wanted at 9 months because I couldn't afford not to. Only received SMP and scrimped the whole way through. I wasn't ready to leave my DS in childcare for 50 hours per week. It was more hours in nursery than with me, and as a single parent that felt so so wrong.

mrscog Wed 27-Mar-13 06:11:46

I took 58 weeks off - full year and holiday. I was helped by where I work offers an enhanced package - 18 weeks on full pay. We also saved a lot for 3 years before, and we only live on our lowest salary anyway (dh's) to prepare us for if we lose jobs/have emergencies etc in the future. I do appreciate that we're lucky to do this.

In actual fact even though I took over a year, I was desperate to get back to work around 9 months (boredom), so I could have taken less time.

PseudoBadger Wed 27-Mar-13 07:54:18

I was talking to a friend today who I haven't seen since she had her baby 10 weeks ago. She is a vet with her own practice and she was back at work 1 day after giving birth shock

aufaniae Wed 27-Mar-13 09:01:48

Can I ask, are people aware that you might be able to take a mortgage holiday while on mat leave?

For those of you who have mortgages and feel forced to return because of money worrys, it could make all the difference.

Not having to pay the mortgage for 6 months was great, it meant I could take the full year off.

FreelanceMama Wed 27-Mar-13 09:24:01

I've been thinking about this a lot since the discussion started - especially the impact it has on the decision to have another child or not.

One major effect on our life is that we are living in a one bed flat and may do this for several years (with our son having the bedroom), because the lower rent means we can afford to look after our child between us i.e. both work part time. But being in such small accommodation does have its consequences - cabin fever in the cold/wet weather, constantly needing to tidy up, no privacy.

I don't think it's realistic for me to expect anymore from the government under the current circumstances in terms of increased maternity allowance, but I do think attention should be paid to women (and their partners) who fall through the gaps. E.g. I nearly missed out on any maternity pay whatsoever because I wasn't earning enough to have to pay Class 2 National Insurance, and did seasonal employed work so didn't qualify for SMP. Luckily I figured it out in time to pay voluntary NI, but I know other women haven't been so fortunate. Or, as the poster above says, there may be mortgage holidays available that they don't know about.

I wish there was ante-natal support for financial planning to help women through this, help them see what their options are early on, and help them fill out the relevant forms, etc. I found it really stressful trying to work it out on my own while combating morning sickness and it's an emotional business!

aufaniae Wed 27-Mar-13 09:55:12

"I wish there was ante-natal support for financial planning to help women through this, help them see what their options are early on, and help them fill out the relevant forms, etc"

This is a brilliant idea.

Babybeesmama Wed 27-Mar-13 10:15:31

Yep sad I wanted the full year off but am having less. I have 3 months of statutory now & we are really struggling financially. X

GetOeuf Wed 27-Mar-13 10:59:19

I don't know what mothers in America do - I presume that they routinely go back to work when the baby is 3 months as that is the longest the employer has to keep the job open. And they don't have a penny maternity pay by law. And I think that some small companies are completely exempt from having to keep the job as well.

So in comparison to America we are very fortunate in this country. I remember being astounded when I worked for an American company the small leave entitlement, maternity provision and frightening hours culture. They used to think us Europeans were a lazy lot.

dinkystinky Wed 27-Mar-13 11:05:58

Sil lives in the US - she actually gave up work as soon as she could after having dd (had to go back at 4 months to avoid having to pay money back but finished up work 3 months later) and started freelancing when her dd was one. Its what a lot if her colleagues in that field ended up doing too.

dinkystinky Wed 27-Mar-13 11:08:17

PS sil worked for the UN who were v generous employers by US standards as far as mat leave went (both duration and pay).

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