Maternity pay is sadly a topic that is often unspoken about, after all, conversations around money can sometimes feel awkward - but it shouldn’t be.
Most of us when we go on employed maternity leave will receive statutory maternity pay. In the UK, you are entitled to receive the first six weeks either full pay or 90% of full pay (statutory minimum). After this, you are paid the statutory maternity pay which is £151.97 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings - whichever is less for 39 weeks (correct in tax year 2021/22).
Paid benefits such as cash, car allowance etc, continue to be paid whilst on maternity leave however so are deductions from salary such as pension. It is possible to stop this however, if you want to protect your financial future and if possible, we recommend continuing your pension contributions.
For many parents, statutory maternity pay is a substantial reduction of a full salary plus, with another member of the family to feed, clothe and care for, maternity leave often requires families to financially adapt to a new way of life.
So, we’ve got some top tips to try and make the most of your pennies while on maternity leave, so you can enjoy special moments with your little one and spend less time worrying about budgets…
Use paid holiday wisely
Throughout your months of pregnancy when you are still working, try to take as little holiday as possible. You will then have a few weeks stored up when you want to start your maternity leave. Take your holiday first, receive full pay, then start your maternity leave after that has run out. Make sure your maternity leave starts by the day your baby is born.
Kit + Split Days
You can work up to 10 days during maternity or adoption leave. These days are called 'keeping in touch days'. Keeping in touch days are optional meaning both you and employer need to agree to them. The type of work and pay should be agreed before you come into work so that your right to maternity or adoption leave and pay is not affected by taking keeping in touch days.
Use your 10 KIT (keeping in touch) days so that you are paid a full day rate salary. You can do this by staying in touch, attending team meetings etc and you will get paid for the full day, sometimes even if it’s only for a short meeting!
You can also work up to 20 days during Shared Parental Leave. These are called 'shared parental leave in touch' (or SPLIT) days. These days are in addition to the 10 'keeping in touch' (or KIT) days already available to employees on maternity or adoption leave.
Check that your tax as a % paid of your income drops when your maternity pay drops so that you are paid a higher proportion of your salary rather than it being paid as tax. For example, you may drop from a higher tax banding salary to a lower rate banding, so % of income paid to tax is less and you are typically left with a higher net salary.
Use those loyalty cards
Make sure to utilise your Tesco Clubcards, Sainsbury's Nectar points, Boots advantage points etc. You can also join baby/loyalty schemes to get plenty of freebies. This outlet will help you save little and often and will prove successful over time when you notice the savings really starting to add up!
At Natural Baby Shower you can become a member and you’ll earn points + exclusive rewards every time you shop. We also work in partnership with the Nappy Voucher Scheme, offering discounted cloth nappies for London and surrounding areas.
Opportunity to clear out your home
Anything you haven’t used for a year or bits you are unlikely to use again so sell it! There are so many second-hand commerce sites to use that work well for clothes, new things in good condition, games, electrical items, although take into consideration that they often take 10% fees. The great thing about local selling sites on Facebook is that there are no fees, but a smaller selling audience and you’re not going to get the exciting bidding frenzy however it may feel good knowing your unwanted items are going to good use and saving the planet too!
Stick to your budget
Write a budget and stick to it. Try to work out how long you’re going to be on maternity leave and how much income you will receive and estimated expenses. Try to factor in one-offs and seasonal occasions like holidays, Christmas and birthdays. There are some great examples online of budgeting templates, perfect for any novice spreadsheet user.
Check your bills
Check that you’re getting the best and cheapest rate for everything. TV, credit card, utilities, mobile phone, broadband, insurance, bank account, saving accounts. Many companies offer deals to keep you as a customer, but it is very likely that you will get a better offer switching to a new company as a new customer.