Having a baby is such an exciting time and having time off from work, getting to know your little one is precious. We know that money is one of the biggest concerns for anyone who’s expecting a baby, and if money is a little stretched each month when you are working, you may find it difficult financially to take time off work. So with a little forward planning and ensuring you receive all the financial help you are entitled to, you can hopefully enjoy a stress-free maternity leave.
Start saving now
It is worth making a plan of all your income and household outgoings as soon as you find out you are pregnant, to see where you can make some cost savings. Are you really using that gym membership and will you continue when baby is here? Could you make a quick ‘fakeaway’ meal rather than buying a more expensive takeaway? By making a few changes now and saving a little extra, you will be in a better position for when your baby arrives, and you will have also cut your monthly outgoings.
If you are eligible for maternity pay then you may receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), and depending on your job/sector your employer may also contribute. If you are entitled to just SMP, then the first 6 weeks you would receive 90% of your average earnings (before tax) and then up to an additional 33 weeks you would receive either 90% of your average earnings, or £148.68 – whichever is lowest. If your employer does contribute to your maternity pay, then it is worth looking at the detail as you may be expected to return this additional money if you do not return back to work after maternity leave. For more information regarding SMP, click here or talk to your employer if they have their own Maternity Scheme.
Shared parental leave
If you are eligible and you or your partner end maternity pay early, then you can take the rest of your maternity leave as Shared Parental Leave (SPL). You can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you and your partner. You would need to share the pay and leave in the first year after your child is born and if eligible you would receive £148.68 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. You and your parent can be off together, or you can stagger the leave between you. To find out more, click here.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
If you don’t currently work and either you or your partner are receiving certain benefits, then you may qualify for a £500 one-off payment to help towards the cost of having a child. To find out more, click here.
Child benefit is paid every 4 weeks and there is no limit to how many children you can claim for. Your eldest child will receive £20.70 per week and any additional children will receive £13.70 per child, per week. You can only receive the full child benefit if you or your partner don’t earn over £50,000 a year. If you do, you may still be able to receive a partial payment. To find out more, click here.
If you do think you will struggle financially after having your baby, then it is worth getting some professional help. The Money Advice Service are available to help with any questions or queries.
Do you have any money advice which helped you when starting a family? We’d love to hear your suggestions – just post your comments on our blog here or our Facebook Page.
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Note: whilst we welcome feedback on this blog, we will not tolerate any abuse or misuse. Please respect the views and feelings of others. The content and advice offered is based on general recommendations and health-care professional suggestions and is designed to be used as a guide and discussion piece. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare / medical professional. If in doubt, always consult your doctor or health-care professional.