Having a baby is a nerve-wracking, exciting, and anxious time indeed. Especially in the current climate! With so much to think about and plan for, it can be overwhelming.
Here we have listed some basic information about maternity leave and pay in the UK.
In a recent study, it was found that the UK was one of the ‘worst countries in Europe’ when it comes to paying new mothers maternity pay. Source
Currently, new mums are entitled to 90% of their usual pay for 6 weeks. For 33 weeks after that, they can get 90% of their pay or £140.98 a week, depending on which is lower. For many women in full-time work, the amount of £140.98 is very likely to be lower and therefore there is quite a substantial loss in salary.
Although we don’t have the best track record when it comes to maternity pay, the UK does offer the longest maternity period in Europe. However, many new mums aren’t able to take advantage of their full maternity leave due to needing to get back to work for financial reasons.
There are certainly a lot of pros and cons that you can draw up when deciding how to plan your maternity leave. Whether you’re doing it alone as a single mother or you have the support of your other half, there are numerous ways to get help and support through this time.
So what are you eligible for if you take time off to have a baby?
According to the gov.uk website, when you take time off to have a baby you might be eligible for:
- Statutory Maternity Leave
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Paid time off for antenatal care
- Extra help from the government
You can work out your maternity pay and leave online using the government website tool
Whilst you are on Statutory Maternity Leave, your employment rights are protected including your rights to pay increases, holiday days, pension contributions, and returning to work.
It’s also worth noting that there is the possibility to plan and organise 10 keeping in touch days with your employer, meaning that you can work 10 days during your maternity leave and be paid in full for those days. It’s a great way to keep in the loop at work as well as boost your finances.
For many women, having a child often means that you have to decide what your next step is when it comes to your career. Some sacrifice their careers to become full-time Mum’s, some juggle the two by leaning on childcare options or family and friends… everybody is different!
It’s normal to feel anxious and worried when planning what you should do, managing your finances as well as coping with the idea of bringing a new life into the world. We would advise that you be kind to yourself and use the information available to make sure you’re armed with all of the info you need to make the right decisions for you.
For more information please find our useful links here.