News: You Can’t Live off Maternity Pay

Just about to head off on maternity leave, thinking about starting a family, or a new mum cluster-feeding your baby at midnight who just stumbled upon this page in a haze of scrolling? Welcome all.

And I hope you have some pennies in the bank, because this rather worrying email just dropped into my inbox…

Commenting on the Trade Union Congress’s research into maternity pay, Jody Coughlan, head of life insurance at said, (in relation to the Trade Union Congress’s research into maternity pay):

‘Concerns around maternity pay may be well-placed. Our research, which surveyed over 1,500 new and expectant parents, suggests that parents are likely to spend £184 on their new-born every week.

‘However, the government’s Statutory Maternity Leave pays out just £139.58 a week for 33 weeks, leaving parents with a weekly shortfall of £44.42, or £2,309.84 a year. This figure doesn’t even take into consideration the bills a family already faces, such as monthly mortgage and energy payments.’

More worrying still, this doesn’t account for the inevitable middle-of-the-night online shopping binges when your baby just won’t-go-the-hell-to-sleep. I’m not suggesting that mothers of colicky or reflux babies deserve (nay, need) more maternity pay. But they do.

So, if you’re thinking of starting a family, or planning baby number two, take a long hard look at your employer’s maternity policy and consider negotiating it to a figure that will actually work for you. (Maybe don’t mention the online shopping bit.)

If they value you as an employee, they may be willing to make life easier a little easier for you, especially if it means you come back to work happy, healthy, and ready to continue doing a kick-ass job.

You can learn more about your rights and statutory maternity leave entitlement here.


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