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Statutory maternity pay - am I seriously meant to survive on £128 a week!

(90 Posts)
Lozza05 Tue 10-May-11 22:56:35

can anyone help advise on whether statutory maternity pay will make me a low income earner? This is my first child and I'm confused about what help I can get in terms of benefits. My salary would not class me as low earner generally but once the 6 weeks 90% pay is over and I'm on £128 per week, will that put me in a low earner bracket?
I don't see how smp will cover anything but it's not clear what other benefits I will get. Any advice much appreciated, currently panicking over how my partner alone will cover all costs without a real salary from me!

ZimboMum Wed 11-May-11 01:24:12

You should get child benefit which is about £80 a month. Check the website to see if you can get any tax credits. Off the top of my head you need to be earning a joint salary of not more than £42k.

Not sure about any other benefits, but I'm sure someone else with more knowledge will be along soon.


Chil1234 Wed 11-May-11 07:12:23

You really should have checked these things earlier. SMP isn't very much at all and having a baby puts a serious dent in everyone's finances for a long time. Best place to check what it available is this Benefits Checker. Input your and your partner/husbands details as fully as you can, assuming your baby has arrived safely. Then you should be able to see what you're entitled to in terms of tax/child credits and other assistance. Child Benefit is not shown but is available to all parents until 2013 and is about £20/week.

If you haven't already, now would also be a good time to think through your plans for work & childcare costs or staying at home and becoming a non-earner. Also, save save save ..... the more you can save up from both your incomes in the run up to the birth, the less stressful it will be when you go onto SMP

frgaaah Wed 11-May-11 11:11:31

Isn't the 128 quid equivalent to just below amount minimum wage on a fulltime post though? OK i've just found a calculator on the computer to workit out and it's nearly 8 grand before tax after the first month and a half, it really isn't that low when you add in the fact that you're also entitled to child benefits and a large proportion of women have the baby's father to financially contribute too - you're still bringing in 90% of your normal salary for 6 weeks, and a perfectly acceptable "real" salary from after that.

People on 10 grand a year working fulltime still contribute a "real salary" to their household, you know hmm It might not be a lot but it's still income!

The benefits checker Chil1 linked is a good idea, if your partner's income is also at the low end e.g. NMW, you'lll be entitled to more - make sure you check into this very thoroughly!

You also didn't say how far you are off - more details would help with some advice smile How much does your partner earn, how much maternity leave are you taking (does your employer offer any enhanced packages?) etc.

vj32 Thu 12-May-11 10:14:25

no - you are supposed to have planned and saved and for your partner to support you financially while you need to stay at home.

I don't know what you mean about it making you a low income earner - on income support as a sole parent you would only get about £67 a week so £128 is generous really as (very nearly) everyone is entitled to it. You don't get any discount on council tax/housing costs though.

You can get CB and CTC once baby is born. Also - make sure you aren't over taxed while you are on maternity leave - depending on your income you may be able to claim some tax back.

Starbear Thu 12-May-11 13:40:06

That why so of us go back to work. various rainy day funds disappeared while on I was off & I could only stay away for 6 months sad maybe I should have planned better too.

groak Thu 12-May-11 13:43:40

My p/t wage is about the same as SMP!!!! That's why the baby is in you for 9 months so you have time to save money! grin

ChablisLover Thu 12-May-11 13:45:25

yes - SMP Is not much - I was in the same situation - 90% salary for 6 weeks and then SMP for the remainder.

But agree - that the nine months previous was spent saving as lovely as it is to have 9 months off - it really does dent the finances.

Plus, at the mo, I am job seekers (was made redundant 3 weeks ago) and am currently earning £67.50 a week. I would love to get £128 a week!

I would check the benefits online but remember that Child benefit goes after £42k from next year and that CTC etc is only available to low earners. we as a family never received it and we would not consider ourselves high earners

sophe29 Thu 12-May-11 19:35:04

I dont know what job you do but if it is one with any perks eg company car or whatever, then these should continue whilst on mat leave. Also, if you have already signed up for childcare vouchers, these should still be provided by your employer throughout your mat leave. Starting this before your baby is born and throughout mat leave means that you should have a good pot of vouchers banked if/when you return to work and need to sort out childcare.Your partner can do this also.
It is really worth scrutinising your contract and getting proper advice on what your employers actually offer during maternity leave. Also some employers do offer more than the legal minimum of SMP.
None of these are going to change the basic SMP rate but might ease things in other areas.

zebedeek7 Fri 29-Mar-13 12:52:48

I have read a few of the responses above and "What ARE you all talking about???"
I too am in the same position as the lady who posed the first question, how am I going to survive. I have a decent wage usually, and work bloody hard for it, but on maternity leave I will be on £135 per week after the 1st 6 weeks. How can some of you say that this is not bad? How can you say you should have prepared more and saved more? None of you know this family's circumstances.

From my perspective I've never claimed a cent, and don't know how or what I am entitled to. I work, and my partner and I have a mortgage and a home to support. Nothing cones cheaply, and as much as I would have liked to have saved before my maternity leave I was not in a position to do so. We have had to do work in the house as well as buy the things needed for the baby. All in all resulting in very little savings.
going back to my mortgage. Our monthly bills total is around £700 a month. Thats before any shopping and housekeeping. So you can add on another £4-500 a month. and we don't overspend.
Its not always realistic for a couple to save enough before maternity, coception is often unexpected. For myself was sooner than I'd have expected and we've just had to deal with it. We shouldnt get criticised for wanting a little help when our income stream drops considerably lower than what we have had to manage.

The £20 per week child benefit will prob cover the cost of nappies and milk. Then your back to square one really. Oops I forgot the cost of my car! Thats another £65 per month insurance (luckily mine isnt that high) and then petrol. I budget £20 per week but always go over. It will be plenty of walking when I'm on maternity!!

And for the people whose views are that this lady should have thought about the financial implications first, this implies dont have a baby if you cant afford it. You dont always know, and you dont always know what costs are around the corner preventing you saving enough etc. But isnt that like saying if you dont work dont have a baby then because you cant afford it?? People who dont work dont get as much critique i've noticed, mainly because the government funds alot more. You may think that workers are more financially sound but theyre not. the Government needs to help people from all financial backgrounds, because no matter your circumstances, having a baby has a financial impact. The Government needs to manage benefits better!

So, I refer back to the original question. How can I manage to pay my outgoings on £135 per week? And is there anything I am entitled to that can help? Why shouldn't I have assistance because I work, (and should have saved)!

zebedeek7 Fri 29-Mar-13 12:58:24

Oh and, I am only taking 6 months leave! many many women have said to me "is that all"? I would love to take 9 - 12 months to be with my baby!! But unfortunately I am going to struggle on 6 months! its a shame. And recently I have heard that the Government are looking at this as it is a problem for so many. Unfortunately it may not be in time for me. But lets hope they do something.

stargirl1701 Fri 29-Mar-13 12:59:44

This thread is 2 years old. Zombie.

Lj8893 Fri 29-Mar-13 13:04:06

I'm so glad you wrote that zebedeek!!! I was reading through the posts and thinking exactly the same thing!

I struggle to survive without a child on my VERY low full time income, and am baffled as to how we will survive with not much more than half of what I'm bringing home now.

My partner is equally on a low income. It won't always be this way but we are young parents, 19 and 25 so low income it will certainly be for a long while yet.

Smithsgirl88 Fri 29-Mar-13 13:29:45

When I was on maternity leave with son i was a bit puzzled with the tax credits who don't actually calculate the maternity pay until the following year. So, my tax credits for the same year I was receiving maternity pay was based on my full time wages from the year before. Luckily I had a partner who was on a good income so the maternity pay issue wasn't a big deal. Of course don't forget you'll get housing benefit if you're renting, child benefit and if your partners working you'll get child tax/working tax credits so will all mount up.

Babyroobs Fri 29-Mar-13 17:00:16

Having had my first 2 babies in a country where there was no real maternity pay until you went back to work after 6 months/ no child benefit / no tax credit system , I think we are pretty well helped in this country.

dashoflime Fri 29-Mar-13 17:05:20

It is low but with other benefits to top it up it's livable. I'm in the same position but with Child Benefit and Tax Credits it's really not so bad.

dashoflime Fri 29-Mar-13 17:07:03

Smithsgirl88 You can write to them and request that they assess on this years income, if it is significantly lower.

JakeBullet Fri 29-Mar-13 17:12:44

SMP is low but it is doable....I managed it when we had DS very unexpectedly (the "you will never have children" and "oops you are pregnant" unexpected).

It was very tight and I went back to work when DS was 16 weeks as that was all we could afford for me to have in maternity leave and it wasn't as long anyway 10 years ago. However, for the short time I was on SMP it was tight but just about manageable with some cutting to the bone in our outgoings. everyone telling the OP she should have planned all this aware that pregnancies sometimes occur unexpectedly even when you appear to have taken every precaution. I don't recall the OP asking your opinions on her planning or even commenting on the expectedness or unexpectedness of her pregnancy. She asked about SMP....confine your comments to that and keep your judgey pants out of the comments.

favellio Sun 31-Mar-13 20:17:07

I'm 11 weeks pregnant (1st baby) and the main bread winner of the family. I have 2 jobs, 1 full time mon-fri and 1 weekend one. The weekend job is a zero hour contact but I generally work 50-80hrs a months, but will only get SMP from my full time job. This means when on maternity leave I will be losing around £1200 per month in wages!! My husband only takes home around £1100 a month which won't cover the mortgage, bills, shopping, petrol etc
There's no way I can save the £1200 a month I will be losing whilst pregnant but will try and save a few pounds here and there whilst pregnant.
The pregnancy was a happy accident. We live in a tiny 1 bedroom flat and desperately need to try and sell it and buy a house before baby is born but this will in turn put our outgoings up even higher....that's if we manage to sell at all in these current times.
We are crapping ourselves about how we're going to manage and yes in a perfect world, we'd be able to save, manage on 1 wage, live in a huge house etc but the world isn't a perfect place and there's never a perfect time to get pregnant.
I'd love to take a year off but chances are i'll be back full time within a few months and our poor baby will be in full time child care, which sucks.angry
Don't judge other people's situations, they come on threads like this for helpful advice and support. smile

JaquelineHyde Sun 31-Mar-13 20:24:39

This is 2 years old people!!!!

RedlipsAndSlippers Mon 12-Aug-13 22:20:17

Does it matter how old the thread is if it's trying to answer questions that are still relevant?
I'm 29 weeks with DS, and am currently working full time. DP is a stay at home dad to our DD, which means that when my wage drops to SMP we'll be around £400 a month worse of with apparently no more coming in than is already, apart from an extra £13 child benefit.
There's no way we can cover our bills on SMP even with tax credits etc, so I will be having a very short maternity leave. sad

Tasmania Wed 14-Aug-13 22:12:05

Go back to work after a few weeks rather than months? Does your employer actually offer more than SMP? My employer pays 100% of my salary for 6 weeks, and after that 50% (this is fairly standard, and has been the case at most companies I have worked for) up until the sixth month.

Still, the max. amount of time I would take out would be 3 months - purely for career reasons (in my industry, taking a long maternity leave will cause your career to stagnate). DH and I earn roughly the same amount (me a little more), and losing my income would be a big blow.

ilovebabytv Wed 14-Aug-13 22:20:47

2 years old. Lol. I did wonder in one of the first posts about the £42k threshold for tax credits. Its deffo not that now! Is it about £26k for one child?

Buswanker Wed 14-Aug-13 22:33:17

Wonder what the OP did? Her baby is about 2 now?!

mummybearah Thu 10-Oct-13 13:01:14

Yes this question is still very relevant! I am in exactly the same position as some posters- 18 weeks and only entitled to SMP.

Currently renting a room, can't stay here once baby is born and have nowhere else to go! Won't be able to survive anywhere on SMP.

By the looks of it I'm not entitled to any benefits either, so this is a real, terrible situation for me. Oh and I'm expecting twins!! Hopefully the government can help.. I'd like to think so as I've been paying taxes since before I can remember!

Any help would be much appreciated sad xxx

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