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Maternity pay - how much can you manage on?

(23 Posts)
acquiescence Mon 26-Oct-15 16:38:49

I am very fortunate to be employed by the NHS so I get a reasonable level of maternity pay. I am trying to decide whether to take 10,11 or 12 months and am waiting to hear back about what my level of pay will be. I am guessing if I split it equally it is going to be something like £750-900 per month. My usual take home pay is around £1500.

I am trying to work out how much we can manage on/ if it is worth taking the whole year? My DH is employed full time and earns slightly more than I do. It would be interesting and useful to hear others perspectives.

eckythumpenallthat Mon 26-Oct-15 16:41:46

Well it depends what your outgoings are and what little luxurys you've become used to as a household cos It's all relative

But to give a comparison I too work for the NHS when I went on mat leave I was halfway up the band 5 pay scale. I took 9 months as couldn't afford the 3 months of no pay. But with annual leave I accrued I ended up taking 11 months off and towards the end we did struggle a bit

PotteringAlong Mon 26-Oct-15 16:42:18

I'm a teacher. I survived on £550 statutory maternity pay after my enhancement ran out and as a teacher we only get full pay for 6 weeks. The only time I've ever wished I worked for the nhs was when I found out how much maternity pay you get.

mintbiscuit Mon 26-Oct-15 16:52:34

Does it not depend on if your dh can make up the shortfall of your monthly outgoings? And of course how long you want to take?

I'm in private sector so my mat leave pay isn't as good as yours. However i'm in a fortunate position that we are fine on dh's salary when my pay drops to SMP and no pay in final weeks. I base my return to work on how I feel nearer the time. For ds2 i knew when he was 6 months that I would want to return to work before 12 month period (went back when he was 10.5 months). Not because i didn't enjoy it but I missed that part of my life. I did a phased return and will do so with dd (20 weeks).

Do you have to specify how long you want in advance? Can you change your mind later?

Worth pointing out to factor in childcare costs as you will have to pay these in advance and your pay will be month behind. I always make sure I have 2 months fees in the bank. Also you will accrue holiday so factor that in to the amount of time you want off.

CaptainKit Mon 26-Oct-15 16:55:54

I work for the charity sector - I get 18 weeks at 90% and the rest (up to a point) at Statutory Maternity Pay; so about £139 a week, less NI and whatever, so it's not the bare minimum as far as maternity packages go, but it's not as good as other places offer - not a factor I considered 9 years ago when I joined the organisation. As I am doing this alone (intentionally) I won't have any other income, so have had to take out a loan to ensure I'll have money put aside which will cover the mortgage and bills for the second half of ML.

Frustratingly this lack of funds means I'll have to go back to work after 6 months (closer to 7 once I add some annual leave on each end), whereas if I could make ends meet without having to take out a larger loan I would definitely take a full year.

Lemonfizzypop Mon 26-Oct-15 16:56:08

I also work for the NHS and take home the same as you OP, I'm taking a year as I figure it's easier to bring forward my return-to-work date rather than delay it if I find we are doing okay! I am worried about the cut in pay but I figure we won't be going out as much, we previously spent quite a lot down the pub and impromptu meals out!
Also dh got a promotion a few months ago which has taken the edge off immensely.

CalypsoLilt Mon 26-Oct-15 17:11:50

captainkit same boat as you, going it alone, albeit unplanned. I've got 6 weeks at 90% then SMP for 33 weeks after that. I'm extremely lucky that I've (hopefully) got enough savings to cover a year off work but I'm planning at some point to be taking a mortgage holiday.

I'm a lover of all things spreadsheets so I worked out exactly what was going out each month, including annual costs like car tax and divided it by 12, and I'm fairly certain I can take a whole year as long as there's no major financial emergencies, but even then I would probably whack it on a 0% credit card.

Do a budget acquiescence and see how it looks?

ALR123 Mon 26-Oct-15 17:15:26

I was told at the start of this year I wouldn't conceive naturally. So we bought a nice big house. I earn more than my husband.
found out in April I'm pregnant. Am now 29 weeks and only managing to save £150 a month due to huge new mortgage. I get full pay for first 3 months of maternity leave, then SMP for the rest.
If if have thought I'd get pregnant we'd have saved... I'm so happy to be expecting but also gutted as I think I'll be returning to work after 5 months :-( I spend my evenings budgeting over and over and I just don't see how we'll ever survive without me returning quickly. Others that I work with that had planned for it had managed to save between £6000 to £10000 so they could comfortably have the full year off confused

KatyN Mon 26-Oct-15 18:01:36

We cut back the first time I went on mat leave by about £750 a month. It was tight but not impossible. Then I went back pt as did my husband and our salary stayed the same as when I was on mat leave.
We did a really tight budget before we decided how long I would take mat leave. We also averaged my salary across the whole of my mat leave so the new budget kicked in as soon as I stopped work and not when my pay decreased.
It also helped that we planned ahead for big buys or asked family to help for presents, such as a nice highchair (well £70 nice) a toddler bed etc.

QforCucumber Mon 26-Oct-15 18:06:09

Will be on smp after 6 weeks at 90% taking 9 months off. Will lose approx £170 a week so saving as much as we can now to cover as much shortfall as possible. Will be tight but manageable.

trilbydoll Mon 26-Oct-15 18:09:52

I only get SMP. We're fine with that but the 3m unpaid is a bit too much - last time I had 1m unpaid and 1m holiday, will probably do something similar this time.

TwllBach Mon 26-Oct-15 18:13:27

I'm a teacher but part time. I get 90% for 4 weeks and then it steadily decreases. I don't live with DP so am going to have to go back after 4 months sad trying not to think about it atm

Runningupthathill82 Mon 26-Oct-15 18:14:18

Like some of the others, last time I had mat leave I had to rely on only my salary to live on - and only got the 6 weeks at 90% pay, followed by statutory.
Couldn't save beforehand as am only on a low-ish salary anyway.

Anyway, upshot was that I had to go back to work after 4 months. It wasn't ideal.

This time, although we still live on my salary alone, a better mat leave package means I can take 6 months.

OP - it totally depends on your outgoings and if your DP can cover them. Our household income is around 1600pcm and we live fine - though when this drops while I'm on mat leave, it'll be v hard.

Me624 Mon 26-Oct-15 18:26:52

I only get statutory i.e. 6 weeks at 90% and 33 weeks at £139 a week. Luckily DH's salary just about covers all the outgoings but I'm the slightly higher earner so we'll be taking a big hit and will have nothing for luxuries while I'm off. I'm planning on taking 10/11 months but tacking holiday on either end so that I shouldn't end up with any period unpaid.

Sanch1 Mon 26-Oct-15 18:34:36

We can't cope on less than my full wage so we've had to save 9k for my next lot of maternity leave. It's all relative to your pay, maternity package, out goings and lifestyle isn't it?

blondiejess1982 Mon 26-Oct-15 19:36:47

It's really harsh and you can see why some women give up their career. Get use to living on OH wage and not working etc. I have worked for the same place for 10 years and I am in a management position it get paid the same mat pay as someone at the bottom of the scale.

acquiescence Mon 26-Oct-15 21:59:50

Thanks everyone, good to hear others perspectives. I am full of admiration for those who manage to save up to cover mat leave!

Realistically my DH can cover most of our outgoings, it's silly but I feel bad that he will have to cut back to support my loss of earnings- even though he is happy to do so and the baby is both of ours! I think it's just a thing that takes a while to get my head around. I am 38 weeks so probably should have thought about this a little earlier on!

PotteringAlong Tue 27-Oct-15 06:54:58

If you're only thinking about it at 38 weeks then I think the honest answer is that you don't have a problem - those of us who would have started planning before conception!

Runningupthathill82 Tue 27-Oct-15 07:47:43

Exactly, Pottering - my SMP mat pay wasn't enough to cover the mortgage, let alone bills as well, so I had to plan as soon as the BFP came up!

PeppermintInfusion Tue 27-Oct-15 08:02:51

I managed 7 months on Mat allowance and savings, not ideal but I just had to get on with it.

Take into account the expenses you WONT have when off- probably less petrol/transport costs and other work-related expenses. Also the long month I had waiting for my overdue baby and the month after when I didn't get up to much,these were 2 months of very little spending. I also spent less on food shopping as I had more time to shop/make dinner being at home.

Artandco Tue 27-Oct-15 08:13:59

Self employed here, so I started work again gradually from 6 weeks after. So just a few hours a week, gradually building back up as the weeks went on. Same with ds2, but slightly earlier as I was already in routine of working around small baby so continued again with just a few hrs and built up.

Luckily both slept well. I could almost guarantee if I fed them and put them in a sling, I could get 2 hrs work done with them asleep or just happy in sling ( did have a few calls with me walking around flat though to keep them settled)

acquiescence Tue 27-Oct-15 09:05:06

Pottering yea that is a good point. As I said previously I realise I am in a fortunate position compared to most. We will sit down and do some planning with bank statements and a spreadsheet and look at expenses we can cut down. We live pretty frugally as we have had to save/ pay off a house deposit then wedding over the last couple of years and don't have much we can cut back on to be honest. I will probably cancel my gym membership as can't imagine will have much use for it during Mat leave. We already spend next to nothing on food and don't eat out, don't holiday abroad. We run two cars which we pay for separately and mine is very old but I have just paid out to get it through the mot.

oneconfusedchick Tue 27-Oct-15 09:19:25

It depends on your outgoings. I do not earn much and am fortunate to be able to manage with my Husbands pay for mortgage etc. I am only getting SMP which is £139 a week? plus a little extra at the beginning and am taking 13 months off am just gonna have to not spend anything lol but as I only get about £180 a week from current PT work I think I can cope with the change. I just cut back last time on a lot of clothes and you wont go out as much etc so that might help!

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