Having a baby is a very special time in anyone’s life but it is worth looking up your rights before you take that step into parenthood.
I have had six children and each experience was very different. When I worked for a supermarket they followed the governments maternity scheme to the letter:
- The first 6 weeks – 90% of full pay
- The next 33 weeks – £139.58 or 90% of your earnings – whichever is less
- The next 13 weeks – Unpaid
When I worked for an Investment Bank the maternity package was amazing, with 26 weeks full pay and then 7 weeks statutory pay. What astounded me was that my American counterparts only got 6 weeks maternity leave working for the same company, so we have a very good system in the UK.
As for Paternity pay for Dad, it has been very different as years have gone by. When I had Kian, Hubby was only allowed a couple of days Paternity Leave whereas when I had subsequent children he was allowed up to two weeks off, although be very aware that you may only receive the statutory pay of £139.58 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.
It is also worth bearing in mind that legally a company has to keep your job role open for 12 weeks, so you may not be welcomed back into the same job you were doing when you left, although you will still be on the same pay grade and be entitled to the same benefits.
Whilst you are pregnant you are also entitled to free prescriptions and dental care, plus paid time off from work to go to your antenatal appointments, although I do remember one company asking me to try to arrange these for my day off or before / after my shift.
Once baby is born then you are suddenly presented with applications for Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits etc. Don’t panic but do fill out the forms as soon as possible as any extra pennies does help when you are getting through hundreds of nappies a month. The Money Advice Service has some excellent advice on what benefits you can and cannot claim when pregnant or have a baby.