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maternity pay - frustrated and upset

(75 Posts)
Bumpngrind85 Wed 03-Sep-14 12:51:02

Apologies in advance for my pregnancy rage but I've been crying all morning and genuinely feel upset about what I have been offered. My situation is that i have been working for the same company for 5 years and for various reasons (that I wont go into) I know they value my very highly. I have fallen pregnant (currently 22 weeks) and asked for a copy of maternity policy - they didn't have one. My Director then said "Before we give you the policy, how long do you want off?" I was honestly thinking they would be fairly generous with the package and said 6 months max - because I didn't want to take the Michael. I have chased this up and been told they offer stat maternity pay. Whilst I understand this is what many women get I am a little dissapointed due to my own personal work circumstances and what the company expect me to do for them in the future. I'm thinking that they will presume I will want to go back to work asap now to claim my usually high wage - but now I know it's just stat pay and that my employer will get this back from Government i'm more inclined to take the full year. My husband and I will be fairly tight for a full year on stat pay but i'm thinking if work aren't paying for it I should take advantage of time with my baby. I'd be interested to hear how everyone else fairs in the maternity pay/leave situation....

wingcommandergallic Wed 03-Sep-14 12:54:11

6 weeks at 90%, 12 weeks at 50% and the remainder at SMP level until 39 weeks. Anything after that is unpaid.

Start reading up on maternity legislation. You might find your company hasn't much of a clue.

wingcommandergallic Wed 03-Sep-14 12:55:58

Has your employer come back and said you will only get SMP?
I think they have to do the 90% bit too. Check out www.gov.uk

Bumpngrind85 Wed 03-Sep-14 12:59:40

Thanks. I have been asking friends what they get and some are ridiculous like 5 months full pay. I would never expect that but was hoping for similar to you with a certain time period at 50% maybe. I'm pretty sure a lot of companies offer stat pay only which is fine but taking into consideration my own circumstances with work i'm shocked this is all they are prepared to offer. My Directors are pretty old school and wouldn't pay sick pay if they didn't have to but I just thought the package would be a little better.

wawabear Wed 03-Sep-14 13:01:26

Hi there

Check out this website - www.maternityaction.org.uk/wp/advice-2/mums-dads-scenarios/pregnant-and-benefits/common-maternity-pay-questions/

It explains really clearly what you are entitled to.

Check your contract of employment too - some companies will offer employees with more than 2 year's service enhanced maternity leave.

Good luck xx

Bumpngrind85 Wed 03-Sep-14 13:02:51

No they have said about the 6 weeks at 90% too but i'm still suprised. One of the things they have asked me to do is relocate to London in 2 years time (when they are hoping to retire)and have a more active role in the restructure of the company. That's obviously a massive offer and flattered they think so highly of me - but then they offer stat pay only. I just find it most confusing.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Wed 03-Sep-14 13:06:22

I got SMP too and would consider that I have a good job too. My firm is small and I imagine that they don't want to encourage women having loads of kids and taking years off at a time.

If you can make it stretch and take the full year, you might as well. It worked out at �600 per month for me plus we got the Child Benefit of �80 every 4 weeks. I saved during pregnancy and took 7 months off.

You do accrue holiday too but they don't have to carry it over from one holiday year to the next so you're usually better off using it at the beginning of your leave before it has to start.

You also are entitled to add any bank holiday days to your annual leave if you would usually get them off. The extra days add up!

ShadowStar Wed 03-Sep-14 13:06:38

I get the legal minimum from my employer.

6 weeks at 90% pay, 33 weeks at SMP, remaining 13 weeks unpaid.

One thing to bear in mind is, even if they do value you very highly, if their policy is to offer the legal minimum package, they may feel unable to offer you a better package in case this creates a precedent for other, less valued employees, to get better packages too.

TarkaTheOtter Wed 03-Sep-14 13:07:47

<wonders if some other posters have read the OP>

I understand where you are coming from. You feel like you go "above and beyond" what they are entitled to from you as an employee so it is a bit unfair for them to be offering the bare minimum maternity pay.

Try to take the emotion out of your decision making though and think about how long you would like/can afford to take off. Remember that stat mat pay is only 39 weeks and if you take any longer than this they only have to offer you a job at the same level not the same actual job back. That doesn't include any accrued holidays though so that will help stretch it out a bit.

Bumpngrind85 Wed 03-Sep-14 13:25:12

Thanks everyone. I completely understand they have to be fair in offering me what they would offer across the board and wouldn't want to be treated differently to anyone else. I'm probably silly in the fact that I was worried in taking 6 months to protect them - when i'd feel guilty even asking for holidays/bank holidays accrued when i know that's what i'm entitled to. I will speak to my husband and work out exactly what ill be getting and see what we can afford.
I would have planned and saved for a baby like many others but was told in November I wouldn't be able to conceive without an operation so this has come a s a pretty big shock!

Thanks for all your comments.

backinthebox Wed 03-Sep-14 13:27:57

I'm sorry that you are so upset over it, but the reality is that many women only get SMP. I work for a company that employs over 40000 people, many of them women, and we all only get SMP. It is harder for small companies to offer enhanced SMP but large companies aren't keen to offer it either. It is a bit late for you, but most women who plan a family first check out what their company's maternity package is and then save a bit if it is not generous. Best thing you can do now is get on with planning your maternity leave from where you are.

backinthebox Wed 03-Sep-14 13:30:26

Don't feel silly asking for holidays - that is something that they are legally obliged to give you. Also, remember if you are not at work, you will not have the same expenditure at home as you would at work, e.g. travel costs, lunches, coffees, work clothes, etc.

Heels99 Wed 03-Sep-14 13:34:24

Stat pay only here too.

Take the time you want off work, in the long run nobody thanks you for rushing back. I know someone who was a senior director went back to work after six weeks full time, with both pregnancies, was made redundant ultimately having rushed back to help them out. business is business, they only have to pay you stat and you can take your full legal entitlement off.

Roonerspism Wed 03-Sep-14 13:35:13

They actually aren't allowed to ask how long you are taking off....

Anyway, I work for a large organisation am given 10 weeks at 90 per cent then SMP. This is actually very poor in the market I am. But there is no incentive for them to change as maternity pay is not a benefit prospective employees take into account

It sucks. As does their attitude once you return.

I love how the government tries to promote breastfeeding for a year - not much bloody point if you have to go back to work after 4 months!

Heels99 Wed 03-Sep-14 13:35:30

Of course take your holidays etc. take all that you are due.

Heels99 Wed 03-Sep-14 13:35:50

And start looking into your childcare options!

Roseblossom2 Wed 03-Sep-14 13:42:45

It's just the way it goes, they don't have to offer more than statutory so you should always plan based on the lowest amount. I work 45 hours a week min wage and my partner 4 hours, when I am off work with statutory we will have NO money, we life hand to mouth now. But we have planned and budgeted for when the time comes. I feel I am valuable at work despite my low pay. But it is what it is so it's not worth getting angry about. I'd people who are paid a lot should find it a lot easier to save for these kinds of situations. What I've agreed with work is I am taking my full holidays before my mat leave, so I get a month full pay due to hols, then the 90% for 6 weeks, so it's only until I'm on my 4th month off that I will only be getting the 500£ or so a month. You'll also have the tax credits and child tax to claim by then too smile

ChickenFajitaAndNachos Wed 03-Sep-14 13:43:26

And remember you don't need to make any decisions about when you want to return to work yet.

Roseblossom2 Wed 03-Sep-14 13:44:15

I'll also only be taking 5 months off max if that... all I can afford. But I guess I knew that before I got pregnant! lol

squizita Wed 03-Sep-14 14:23:41

I'd people who are paid a lot should find it a lot easier to save for these kinds of situations.

hmm What if they are the main breadwinner: their wages are going to be paying the rent or mortgage and all bills.

This is the scenario I am in. I've found society both morally and in how things are organised really, really struggles with this concept: the person in the traditional "man of the house" role actually being a woman - and getting pregnant.

Every single person assumes that even though I have a management job my DH 'must' earn more or else how could we be married. Not so, my DH has had a period of time as a student a few years back and his job just plain pays less than mine (it is a sensible job and very valuable to society: I just earn more). They then suggest he is lazy or some man-child; again not so, as we all know some jobs pay more than others. His job is very challenging and valuable... but he gets paid by the government in an area with cut back after cut back.

However thankfully I am in a lucky position in that my employers have a pretty good maternity package, I do have savings (not for maternity but that is what they'll now be used for) and DH has just secured a contract which should bring in a welcome injection of cash come the 50% months.

BanglesSpangles Wed 03-Sep-14 14:26:29

When I asked about the policy here, I was told it was statutory only, so I asked if it's negotiable and happily, it started off a conversation internally and I should hopefully be getting more than the statutory

I think I felt the same way as you, OP- Have been in my job for 5 years and thought of as a valued staff member, so if you don't think it's too late, it's always worth asking if they'll consider anything additional in your case - don't ask don't get and all that

For background, I work in a really tiny office- there's been two others that have gone on mat leave in the last couple of years, but both were happy to accept statutory, which is why it hadn't ever come up before

WildFlowersAttractBees Wed 03-Sep-14 14:42:26

My previous employer had never had a pregnant employee so I found myself in a similar position. When they offered the bare minimum I said I would take it and use my maternity leave to job hunt! They soon came back with a better offer. In the end I got 6 weeks at 90% 18 weeks at 50% then SMP for 15 weeks. At the end of that I took all accrued holidays (30days plus bank holidays back on full pay) before returning.

OneLittleToddleTerror Wed 03-Sep-14 14:59:12

Is it a small company? Then it I'd not a surprise it is statutory maternity pay only. It is the norm. Those with very good enhanced pay tend to be in public sector or large companies. I will just take the whole year off (which I am doing now).

OneLittleToddleTerror Wed 03-Sep-14 15:00:15

Of course you can negotiate like suggested smile

Cerealaddict Wed 03-Sep-14 15:10:35

I work for a tiny company, I too know I am very valued and am too on SMP, (well will be in a few days when my annual leave use age runs out or I give birth)

the way I see it is that I've been on a better wage for the 8yrs worked there, than I would've been on working for a big corp with good maternity pay package.

I'd sooner be paid thousands more for 8 yrs than get a few hundred extra for 6-9 months off work.

Look at the bright side smile I've also said right from the off I'm only coming back 3 days a week, my friend with good package is having a major stress now and meetings with work to discuss reducing her hours when she goes back, only for them to refuse, big companies aren't all that!

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