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Will I cope on maternity pay?

(24 Posts)
BelleSmiles123 Fri 08-Jul-16 11:58:07

So, I'll give a little background before the 101 questions!
I've been working on a 0 hours contract for the past 2 years while I study but have recently been informed of changes the company I work for are making! They are scrapping 0 hours contract and offering full time contracts for existing staff at a very good salary for a standard lifeguarding job!
My options are to take a full time contract (with benefits of sick, holiday and maternity pay), or to take redundancy pay!
I have been informed that if I take the job I will be given enhanced maternity pay which is:
8 weeks full pay
16 weeks half pay
15 weeks statory maternity pay
13 weeks no pay before I have to return to work!
This all sounds great! But I have some worries!
I became pregnant unexpectedly with no savings and with little financial support from the dad I knew early it would be hard!
My main concern is that I cannot and will not be able to live on my half pay followed by statory pay and then no pay! Before the job was offered I had accepted the fact that I will have to rely completely on benefits and then decided the job would be great as I can save for a few months before giving birth and then claim benefits when my pay goes down!
But is this true? I discovered that I can claim benefits based on my previous 6 months of income and am now worried I will get no help when my pay goes down as I would have had a good 6months before (unfortunate a good 6 months does not mean space for saving enough to help me for the rest of my maternity leave!)
Would it be better financially for me to take redundancy and claim benefits when the baby comes - as much as I am reluctant to do this I do not want to get half way down the line in this job and realise I cannot afford to live! I just want todo what's best for the baby!
I know an option is to go back to work sooner but I just don't think I will be able to. Another worry is that I won't be able to go back after the year and will therefore have to pay back the maternity pay I was given for the first half of the year!
I am a first time mum and the idea of having to work while the baby is so young doesn't sit well with me at all! I also have no family around so babysitting ect would be for me to find elsewhere!

Anybody able to offer any advice/guidance/please tell me which option will get me through! halo

mouldycheesefan Fri 08-Jul-16 12:01:42

Lots of people have to go back to work even though they prefer not to. It's the reality of life. Work out what benefits you would get not working and do the comparison.
Also if you are already pregnant when you start the job will you have enough service for those maternity benefits? Double check the detail.
Pursue father for child maintenance.
Good luck.

BelleSmiles123 Fri 08-Jul-16 12:22:03

As much as I understand many people prefer not to go back to work with a baby, having to work full time with a baby less than 2 months old really is not an option for me! I know I will eventually but to be able to pay rent and bills, my calculations and comparisons of being on benefits and working means that work will have to continue before I go to half I said I am a first time mum and not sure what most people do but I just think it sounds too early.

The dad and I are together but with health issues his working hours are a lot less than we need right now!

Thanks for the reply (:

Anxiousmuch Fri 08-Jul-16 12:22:53

Make an appt. with your local citizen's advice bureau...take paper work from job offer with you and speak to an advisor there. They should be able to give you impartial advice on what's best for your situation. Benefits are rarely more than if you work although I sympathise. If you have a lump sum of redundancy money you may also not be entitled to benefits. There are also in work benefits you should consider. Definitely chase father for support - the govt. will help you do this.

TwirlyHoos Fri 08-Jul-16 14:57:55

If you are already pregnant and being offered a job at those rates of maternity pay I would take it like a shot! I found out to weeks into my new job that I was pregnant and missed out on even the 6 weeks at 90% (despite being in continuous employment for the last 10 years) and get nothing more from my employer so will only get 39 weeks at £139/week. I'd be surprised if you'd be entitled to any other employment benefit than this but may have missed something.

EdithWeston Fri 08-Jul-16 15:17:31

If you are already PG, you might not qualify for maternity pay (depends on when they are setting the clock ticking for the qualifying period, and if that has been done correctly).

If you do not qualify for SMP, then you should be able to claim maternity allowance. With a partner in work, you also need to check carefully if you would qualify for any benefits at all.

If the father works fewer hours, could he cover the childcare so you can return to work?

When I had my eldest, maternity leave was 18 weeks. Lots of us went back at about that point, and it's not way too early.

BeaArthursUnderpants Fri 08-Jul-16 17:17:49

13 weeks is not less than two months. In the US, the majority of women (including well-paid professionals) go back after 12 weeks. I did it twice. I'm not saying it's ideal, but frankly it doesn't sound like you're in a position to simply decide it's "not an option." If you really want to do what's best for your baby you need to do everything you can to provide for her and give her the best future possible.

Jjspoon Fri 08-Jul-16 20:50:01

Could you even continue working as a lifeguard further in to pregnancy? I can't see someone into the third trimester running and jumping in to a pool in a hurry to drag out someone in trouble? That sounds dangerous when pregnant.... ?

notinagreatplace Sat 09-Jul-16 11:54:15

It's not like your options are going back to work when your baby is 2 months old or when he/she is a year old - there's a lot of space in between... You could go back after the period of half pay - i.e. at around 5 months - and you can definitely avoid the 3 months of no pay by going back at 9 months.

LBNM19 Sat 09-Jul-16 12:02:15

You can't assume she can just go back to work, who is going to care for her baby? Some people don't have family that can help and can't afford child care costs.

That's what benefits are there for to get you through a hard time. If you go online and look on a benefits calculator then you should be able to work out what you will receive.

BelleSmiles123 Sat 09-Jul-16 12:31:03

Sorry a bit of confusion. I understand how you may think I do not have an option BeaAuthursUnderpants but I think you misunderstood what I was saying!

I would have to go back to work BEFORE the half pay hits as I cannot live off half pay....which would be when the baby is less than 2 months as the half pay hits after 8 weeks off!

Going back after the period of half pay would be better but when half pay is less than my rent - let alone bills and food - I don't see how I can wait....which is the point of this thread. Can I claim benefits when on half pay?

Thank you LBNM19!!! I appreciate you understanding my point of view! Being told I have no option but to work so early and with no one around to help with childcare I'm now just feeling like wanting to spend time with my child more than providing money is an alien concept! Like I said I'm a first time mum and never expected to get pregnant after being told I couldn't have children so am just trying to work things out.

In terms of getting the job while I'm pregnant, I have been assured I will get full maternity that I stated before as I have been working the same position for over two years and it's only the paper contract that's changed.

BelleSmiles123 Sat 09-Jul-16 12:38:10

In terms of lifeguarding itself, I am able to yes! After a risk assessment I am able to complete first aid and be the eyes of the pool, leaving the rescuing and jumping into pools for colleagues. I will always be standing with someone who can do that while I clear the pool/hit the alarm ect!

The company I work for are brilliant for allowing another paid person to fill those gaps while I am still able to do the hours I need and to provide the maternity pay they are offering!

maddiesparks Sat 09-Jul-16 12:43:13

Sorry Op if you have already explained but did you know that when you are on half pay you will also get SMP at the same time? This is often only a little short of many peoples monthly full time wage.

BelleSmiles123 Sat 09-Jul-16 12:56:54

maddiesparks I did not know that at all!! that makes a huge difference thanks for the info! I'm assuming I just claim when I go down to that pay?

Tfoot75 Sat 09-Jul-16 13:26:06

I don't think it works like that, the government pay smp through your wage packet, which is 6 weeks on your average pay (there is an exact calculation) followed by 33 weeks at statutory rate. Enhanced pay from your employer will top this up to full or half pay as per your contract, they won't pay it as well as so you won't get full salary plus smp. You may be slightly better off during maternity leave as any existing benefits will continue but your own pension contributions if you make any will stop, although your employer continues to contribute.

maddiesparks Sat 09-Jul-16 16:46:01

You don't get full pay plus SMP but you you usually get half pay with SMP, obviously check with your employer but I work for the NHS and I got this through all three off my maternity leaves. So I got 8 weeks full pay (with no SMP) then 16 weeks or whatever half pay during which time I also started getting the SMP, after the half pay stopped I stayed off for two more months just getting SMP and then went back to work.

user1466765398 Fri 15-Jul-16 13:46:38

It's not always half pay plus smp, you'd need to check the full details of the contract's maternity policy. I'm pretty sure when I had my two children, my employer topped up the smp to be the equivalent of half normal pay.

Once the baby is born you may be able to claim child tax credits. The amount you get depends on how many hours you work, number of children, if you live with a partner and your salary (when on maternity leave they exclude the first £100 of smp each week from the calculations so you may be eligible for more than you expect. You can speak to citizens advice about it or there is an online calculator on the hmrc website). I've claimed child tax credits both times I have been on maternity leave. I'm not sure what other benefits you might be able to claim though

Liss85 Sat 16-Jul-16 00:59:11

Hi. I won't be getting half pay and smp, my policy says that I get whichever is less. Your work should have a written policy you can look at. Your work sounds like a very reasonable and flexible employer so I wouldn't want to give that up.

You get child benefit. You can also get child tax credits if you're earning less than £26,000 a year. It will go on previous years earnings but you can ask for a psuedo referral through the call centre to go off this years figures if they're less.

Depending on your joint income and how many hours you work you can get working tax credit. You have to work 30 hours a week unless you have a child or you're registered disabled, in which case it's 16. This goes for you and your partner. Maternity leave is considered a job. Not sure what the cut off earnings are for a couple though. Again, it will go off last years earnings but you can ask for them to change that. If you're eligible for working tax credit then you can also get help towards childcare costs.

In terms of job seekers you will need to actually be looking for work and attend weekly meetings. You won't be eligible if your partner works more than 25 hours. I think they also take into account your savings depending on what type of JSA you get.

If your partner has ill health has he looked into claiming PIP or ESA? They tend to go off how you're effected rather than condition so will ask about mobility and how able he is to look after himself.

Hope that was helpful. I'm sure there are other types, such as income support but I don't know anything about those.

Sophia1984 Sat 16-Jul-16 09:01:02

Not necessarily maddie (unfortunately!) My work will pay the difference to make SMP into my full wage for 6 weeks, then to make it half pay for 12 weeks, so actually they're not paying that much.

Belle Firstly, congratulations! Have you looked at ? You will be getting child benefit plus, depending on your wage, child tax credits and possibly housing benefit/council tax benefit.

As others have said, in the US a lot of women have to go back at 8 weeks (which sucks), but it depends what childcare options you have. It seems scary when you think about it but I'm sure you and your partner will find a way to make it work.

user31101993 Sat 16-Jul-16 09:05:45

How much would the redundancy be? If it's over £16,000 you would qualify for any housing benefit (for your rent) your income can be reviewed by your local benefits section regularly so every time your income goes down it can be reviewed so that your benefits (mainly housing) go up x

eatsleepfeedrepeat Sat 16-Jul-16 09:21:07

If you and your partner are on fairly low wages you might qualify for child tax credits, they usually go on your earnings for the last financial year but if this years will be considerably lower they can adjust for that. Lots of you to check - do you qualify for mat package or is it just for those who become pregnant after new contract starts, exactly how much would you get, do you qualify for child tax credits. If it's tight you'll probably have to go back at 9 months, but that's really common. Good luck!

cheminotte Sat 16-Jul-16 09:27:59

As others have said, don't forget you will get child benefit which is about £20 per week. Can you cut any costs now so you have some savings for your maternity leave?

BelleSmiles123 Sat 16-Jul-16 10:56:27

Thanks everyone! I am feeling a lot more confident and have decided to go for the job! The redundancy would be less than 800 and I don't want to be not working or earning in preparation for. Baby! (:
My baby fathers has actually been offered a contract in recent days too and although we are not sure if we will be living together it makes a huge difference knowing we may individually have steady income!

Anyone have any opinion of universal credits? I've done the calculations ect online and I always end up getting 10/20 less if I do it but not sure if there are any more pros/cons? I know it's less hassle but doesn't apply to people everywhere at the moment!

April241 Sat 16-Jul-16 11:34:07

Do you have the option of splitting your maternity pay equally over however long you're taking off? I'm in the NHS and rather than doing full pay/half pay/no pay i'm splitting mine over the full length of my maternity. Means less each month obviously but then I know roughly what i'm getting each month.

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