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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, 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?

FierceBadIggi Sun 31-Mar-13 18:53:25

Waspie saying that's what suited you is absolutely fine, but you didn't say that first time, was a clear statement that being at home with the baby does not require use of your brain.
I often think how long you need to be at home for depends on the baby you get - if you are still up multiple times a night at ten months you may not want to be back at work as soon as someone whose baby slept through at 6 weeks!

Mandy21 Sun 31-Mar-13 18:28:24

waspie I get that, its a personal choice, of course it is, but your post is disingenuous in setting out that people who enjoy their maternity, or who aren't itching to get back to work, are only concerned with nappies and baby weight and didn't use their brain. Thats what I objected to, not that you went back when you did - thats your decision. Just don't insult people who don't make the same choices as you.

Waspie Sun 31-Mar-13 16:25:12

argh.... baby's welfare. I only had one.

Waspie Sun 31-Mar-13 16:24:32

I don't care what either of you do Mandy21 and "sleepingbunnies*. I would hope that you both do what is best for your health and your children's welfare.

I was concerned for my own health, and my own babies welfare, and as I couldn't cope with life I was leading on maternity leave I went back to work. My choice.

Sleepingbunnies Sun 31-Mar-13 15:30:30

Agree with what Mandy just said waspie

Mandy21 Sun 31-Mar-13 13:16:52

waspie it was obviously your choice to go back when you did but please don't imply that anyone who wants more time off is only concerned with nappies and baby weight. Thats simply rude.

Waspie Sun 31-Mar-13 13:07:51

I went back to work when DS was 4.5 months old. I got 6 weeks full pay and 12 weeks at 90%. I also had savings that I'd planned on using to pay the bills in order to give me 6-8 months off.

However, I found that I was getting stir crazy. I tried doing the "mother and baby" stuff but it was mind numbingly boring. So I went back to work were I could engage with people whose entire lives didn't revolve around nappies or how much weight baby had put on in the past week and actually use my brain again.

I used accrued leave to return for 3 days a week for 3 months. I was/am a much better parent for having returned to work.

Mandy21 Sun 31-Mar-13 12:45:19

Dolomites Sorry, thats just not right. I took extended maternity leave with both of my pregnancies - 1st time around, I was entitled to 6 months paid leave (6 weeks at 90% and then the remainder at half pay) but I had 14 months off (6 months paid, 7 months unpaid and 1 months leave). I lived off SMP however and put the extra in a bank account that we didn't touch because the "extra" was treated by my employer as a loan and if I didn't go back (and stay for 2 years) it was all repayable. We could only afford to do that because from the time we'd got married knowing that we wanted a family, we put every spare penny into a savings account specifically for maternity leave. I didn't marry well (well not financially anyway!) and I'm not on benefits, we just saved. Second time around, we saved again from the time I was pregnant, but couldn't save as much because we already had children in nursery and I was part time, but we really scrimped so I could have 12 months (9 months SMP and 3 months unpaid).

Sleepingbunnies Sat 30-Mar-13 22:39:47

I have had 2 children and went back to work when they were both 13 months old. Have a 2.5 years age gap and We saved to allow me to have as long off as physically possible without losing my job. Was the one thing I wouldn't budge on.

Even when DP was made redundant when I was on maternity leave I refused to go back until I had my 13 months. Didn't get in debt to do it, just careful planning.

I couldn't imagine going back after a matter of weeks, I had health complications after DD1 and would have struggled with anything other than being in my pjs 6 weeks post birth!

DolomitesDonkey Sat 30-Mar-13 18:28:52

LittleMissSnowShine has articulated it so much better than I'd initially tried to - but I want want to reiterate - extended maternity leave (for those that want it- and not all of us do!) is usually the preserve of those who "married well" or those on benefits.

Some of us are just trying to get by month to month.

LittleMissSnowShine Sat 30-Mar-13 17:26:39

aufianae - These are not fantastical digs. I'm as left as they come but the reality is, for a woman, working conditions are not easy when it comes to working and balancing family life whether that is maternity life or working when you have young children who are not at school age.

If you are not in a great job with stability, permanence, flexi time, childcare vouchers and good maternity benefits but instead work in something a lot shakier (as many of us do) having young children and being off on maternity leave can be very tough, both with your emotions, your time and your finances.

I know from experience and from the frontline work that I do with mums on benefits that many of them are in an easier position since they are not worrying about their mortgage, what happens if their boiler breaks down, paying a childminder. I'm not saying that they have it easy, they certainly don't have a lot of spare cash. But the reality is that neither do I and neither do a hell of a lot of people on this thread. The supposed government policy is to support working families. I can't say that I am feeling a lot of support.

So maybe you want to look at your own fantastical notions that anyone who feels a bit hardchanged by that is automatically some kind of benefits fascist? This thread IS about people having to make tough decisions about returning to work sooner than they would like because the financial reality is that they have to do this and I do think it is worthwhile asking whether we are better off being in work rather than just being on benefits - financially and emotionally speaking - and if the difference is negligible, maybe we should be asking the government why that is the case.

notcitrus Sat 30-Mar-13 13:28:08

Candlestick - central Government department, also have been there more than 2 years. The mat pay was one reason I went there.

I found I saved a fortune - £25 instead of £120 a month on travel, smart clothes not needed, given washable nappies and piles of baby clothes, time to cook and shop around and buy reduced stuff, and going out hugely curtailed, so few restaurants or theatre - some increase in laundry, takeaways and ready meals, and coffee and cakes with other mothers, but that soon became biscuits to take to others' houses. More expensive after no.2 as new mums don't want an older child about and your previous mum friends have all gone back to work (mostly after no.2), so more play cafes and outings with coffee infusions.

But first year after ds was definitely less cost than I got in child benefit. The cost goes up every year though.

Noideaatall Fri 29-Mar-13 22:23:31

I will be going back after 3 months. I don't want to, but I've go no choice. No mortgage holidays for me. No savings either as my outgoings use up every penny of my wages.
Going back to the prospect of running up more debt paying for childcare. I still haven't paid off the debt I ran up when I first started work with my first - he's 12 now...

higgle Thu 28-Mar-13 16:57:36

I went back to work when both of mine were 8 weeks old, and took 3 weeks off prior to birth both times. Being self employed I couldn't stay away much longer and tbh I was climbing the walls with boredom after a fortnight. They have both turned out very well, so no judgeyness please!

Mandy21 Thu 28-Mar-13 12:10:23

I think its much cheaper being on maternity leave – in my case anyway. No commuting costs, no lunch costs (well, not pricey sandwiches etc anymore), no after works drinks. Our social life came to an abrupt end too (we had twins!) so no meals out (I think we managed to eat at a cafe at a shopping centre when they were about 6 months but had spent 2 hours walking round to get them to fall asleep beforehand!), no drinks on a Friday night. No just popping out on a Saturday to browse round the shops etc. No alcohol (was breastfeeding).

BlueFishWonder Thu 28-Mar-13 08:23:44

I have moved jobs inbetween since my first DC and now pregnant with dc2. With DC1 I had statutory and additional payments and took 9 mths off. I was hoping to do the same this time around, however shortly after falling pregnant my DHs work position significantly changed, I also now only get statutory payments, therefore I will be returning to work initially on a 'consultancy basis' at 3 - 4mths going back full time at 6mths. So yes in short financial situation has changed my plans quite significantly.

TheDetective Wed 27-Mar-13 21:08:26

I should mention that I get 'full' pay (it isn't full pay due to losing unsocial enhancements as I will have been on maternity pay - it will be about £300 less than usual) when off sick. This is my only choice. If I am not physically able to return to work due to a birth injury, then being off sick is the only option.

TheDetective Wed 27-Mar-13 21:07:16

I will be going back when my baby is 5 months ignores fact this is in 4 weeks.

I do not want to. But my partner earns £500 a month. I earn more than 4 times this.

My maternity pay is relatively generous in that it was 'full' pay for 8 weeks, 18 weeks half pay plus SMP. Then just SMP for 12 weeks. Then no pay for 12 weeks.

I saved up for my maternity leave.

I had to save for the 4 months with the £700 drop in them. If I wanted another month off, I'd of needed to save an extra £1500 per month off minimum.

I worked all my holidays when pregnant to save the extra money.

My mortgage do not allow you to take a payment holiday unless 80% LTV or less also ingores fact LTV is 120 fucking % grrr.

I had accepted I would have to go back with a baby that still doesn't sleep through the night.

What I didn't expect was to not yet have recovered from the birth itself. I have worried and worried and worried for months. Praying for a miraculous recovery. It hasn't happened.

So, my options are to go back, and be in poor physical health, and unable to perform safely the job required of me. And to be exhausted doing shift work full time with a baby who isn't sleeping yet and who has medical needs.

Or to be off sick. I feel terribly guilty that it looks like I will be doing that. I suspect I will be accused of all kinds. But the truth is, I am not able to safely do my job, and if I make a mistake, it is life or death. And my career at stake.

I am not sure how my own mum coped. She went back to work with me when I was 8 weeks. I take my hat off to her.

Most days I can't remember my name. My baby is 4 months. I hope this gets better. I can't fucking remember from my first child.

AmandinePoulain Wed 27-Mar-13 19:18:35

Candlestick yes you do tend to pay for baby groups and swimming and things, but that's counterbalanced by never going out in the evenings and spending less on your commute.

PseudoBadger Wed 27-Mar-13 19:11:00

That's what I get too Candlestick. But my friend who is a civilian in the Met Police got 6 months full pay afaik.

CandlestickOlder Wed 27-Mar-13 18:46:14

Re ante natal financial support - I remember this info being given to me at my first mid wife appointment at about 8 weeks. Reminders to plan, details about where to go for info about benefits Etc... It's there - but I wouldn't expect to have someone walk me through it.

CandlestickOlder Wed 27-Mar-13 18:41:00

Where in the civil service do you get 6 months full pay?!

Friends in the public sector elsewhere get 90 % for 6 weeks and then 3 months at half pay then SMP. Mine is very similar.

I am TTC and money while on maternity leave is a huge worry. I would like a year off but it will be dictated mainly by what we can afford.

It's easy to say 'you save for everything else why not maternity leave too'. Except you ARE saving for everything else plus maternity leave! Saving for a deposit for a home or saving for a car or to rent a bigger place and the baby stuff and your pension and (god forbid!) a holiday and the childcare for when baby arrives.... And some people simply do not earn enough to save.

And - I'm not sure if this is a concern of anyone else's - but I don't just worry about meeting every day expenses on maternity leave. I also assume you spend more on maternity leave - baby and toddler groups cost money as does seeing friends for coffee etc. I could be worrying about this unnecessarily and I haven't been on mat leave before.

notcitrus Wed 27-Mar-13 13:50:41

As a civil servant I got 12 months leave, half on full pay, then 3 months SMP, then 3 unpaid. I went back at 11 months partly because of the money but also I knew my work was quieter over the summer so could ease my way back in. After dc2 I took the full 12 months, but getting the good mat pay was the only reason I stayed there until getting pregnant with dc2 - I've just worked the time required after returning so I don't have to repay and will be jobhunting shortly. Though actually I've changed roles and enjoying it now, so will only leave for something better, whereas when I got pregnant again I was desperate to leave.

girlsofsummer Wed 27-Mar-13 13:37:52

Iggly – I hear what you are saying in your rant but I don’t think the value people place on their children can be measured by whether their parents go out to work or not. I certainly have never seen my children as a burden – quite the opposite - I do know what you mean all the "Mothering is so hard" crap you hear but I hear that equally from parents who are at home longer as those who have to go back to work. I agree children would prefer to be with their parents most of the time (and great if you can afford it) but studies have proven it is not whether a parent works outside the home or not that makes a childhood good. Its far more complicated than that. Working to support your children is an act of love just as much as anything else you do for them is. What I mean is there is no point beating yourself up and being miserable – better to spend the energy trying to make the most out of the arrangement, finding a good balance if you can and maximising the time you do have.

mrsbungle Wed 27-Mar-13 12:31:03

I would have loved to take a full year off with both of mine but was unable to because of financial reasons. I did not get one day of full pay from my employer (LA) but I did get 3 months half pay and then SMP for the remainder. I had to go back when SMP finished - we couldn't afford to have nothing at all coming in from me.

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