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How are you coping on maternity allowance?

(11 Posts)
SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 18:49:18

Hi all. Sorry for posting here while still pregnant and not actually a mum yet, but I thought some of you might have been through this already and be able to advise?

I'm so stressed out today and I really need some practical advice from someone more clued up than me.

I'm only contracted to 14 hours a week which is too low to qualify for SMP so I have to claim Maternity allowance from the government. I have a few questions/concerns about this.

Most weeks I work well above my contracted hours and end up earning enough to pay NI etc, so does this count towards my allowance, am I entitled to more/should I be entitled to SMP as I work pretty much full time, I am just not contracted to it?

Does anyone know of a hotline I can call? I can't find a number anywhere.

There are more hours available at my work which I have applied for. My manager told me she's more than happy to give me the hours but she won't contract me to them because I'll be going on maternity leave. I'm well aware that this is discriminatory and therefore illegal, so I sent her a letter of grievance. They're now saying it's not because I'm pregnant, but because they need to hire someone else anyway so they may aswell just hire someone who can do all the hours and keep my contract as it is. I know this isn't the reason but aside from taking them to an (expensive) employment tribunal there isn't a huge amount I can do about it. Is there?

I am worried that I won't be able to live on my £90 a week maternity allowance, I'd love to hear from people in the same position, to find out how you're coping, what other options there might be etc.

Sorry for the long post, I don't want to talk to my parents as they'll only worry and I don't want to stress my husband out about it because I was the one that convinced him we'd cope financially and now I'm not sure we will.

Thank you for reading.

sunshine401 Tue 26-Feb-13 19:06:06

you will be okay. Just make sure you claim your child benefit, child and working tax credits. Are you on your own? If so you can most likely get help with your rent to. Then you can take your maternity leave without worry. smile

sunshine401 Tue 26-Feb-13 19:07:33

Sorry missed the part about your DH. But you will be fine.

SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 19:18:12

Thank you Sunshine, I have no idea about working tax credits but I will definitely look into that. Feeling much better now!

sunshine401 Tue 26-Feb-13 20:18:32


sunshine401 Tue 26-Feb-13 20:19:22 link for you

nextphase Tue 26-Feb-13 20:35:42

this is aimed at employers, but pretend you are

again for employers, but loads of info here

more info

AFAIK, it is your actual earnings between 17 and 25 weeks pregnant which are used to calculate your maternity pay (MA or SMP - and it is only the first 6 weeks which differ between those)

babySophieRose Tue 26-Feb-13 21:43:43

If you pay NIC ( around £120) for 12 months back and file a Tax Return for the same period(you will have to pay £100 penalty for been late) and say you have been working also as self-employed , you will be entailed to the full amount of Maternity Allowance( around £ 580 per month) for nine monts. But that is if you have been doing some kind of services, ironing for people or any other separate from your employment.

babySophieRose Tue 26-Feb-13 21:47:29

And just to add, amount earned is not relevant

SourSweets Tue 26-Feb-13 21:53:02

Wow, thats fantastic. Thanks so much for your help and advice, I'm so out of my depth with this stuff but you have really helped me know where to go and what to look for. Thank you!

mummy2benji Thu 28-Feb-13 16:37:07

I'm on MA now with dd2 as I'd only been in my job for 6 months prior to taking mat leave so wasn't entitled to SMP (I'm a part-time GP, worked 2 days a week). I also had MA with ds1 as I was working as a self-employed locum at the time. Go to the website (search Maternity Allowance on Google) for more info on it, but with MA you submit pay slips / evidence of earnings for your 12 highest paid weeks in your 'maternity period'. Your maternity period is something like 6 or 9 months prior to your pregnancy or mat leave - I can't remember, but you do get to choose which weeks you submit.

I recommend working out your strict monthly budget - how much you spend on food, bills, clothes, social, mortgage / rent etc, working out what you can afford and then sticking to it. Work out where you can reduce spending. It's difficult when you suddenly take a pay drop, but budgeting is a good habit to get into and can really make a difference.

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