How are we supposed to survive on maternity pay? 

I hate money. I’ve never really got on with it if I’m honest. I’m not very good with it and it obviously doesn’t like me as it never sticks around for very long. It causes problems. Arguments. Marriages break down because of it. But apparently it makes the world go round. 

When I am not careful with it, it makes me feel like I’m suffocating. The sheer panic that I feel overwhelms me and I hate it. There were times in my life when I’ve not afforded to eat. This is partly down to my bad life choices but mainly because I was living from one pay packet to the next. 

I can recall having ten pounds to get me what I needed to eat for the week. I made it stretch, I’m not sure how, maybe good planning and clever meals. I bet people are thinking – you should have got a job! But guess what, at the time I had two! 

Obviously now I’m in a much different place, I’m in a fantastic job which pays me enough that I don’t need to have two. But then comes the problem. I have two children, one who has only been around for five months. 

Of course it’s not the children that are the problem, it’s the fact I am currently on maternity leave that has created the issue. With maternity leave comes the dreaded maternity pay. And this is where I’m left dumbfounded on this particular piece of UK policy where my mate money is concerned.

When the average UK salary for a female is £24,964 ( and a male’s salary is £30,539, how are people expected to survive on the maternity pay our government deems ok? 

90% of the average UK female salary for one week is £432.07 which you can expect receive for six weeks. Add to that the 33 weeks at £139.58. So if you chose to take an entire year’s leave, on an average UK salary, £7,198.56 would be your annual earnings. How are we expected to live without nearly £18,000? 

I know I’m bad with money and lots of people do it with frugality, but seriously why should we have to? Is this down to our employers, or is this something our government should be footing the bill for?  

I’m inclined to think that there needs to be more done by our government if I am honest. A government who have fought for a ‘living wage’ to ensure people can afford the day to day needs are leaving families with what an individual on said living wage earns after 19 hours of work. 

We have mortgages to pay, food to put on the table but there doesn’t seem to be any concern about that. Is there an assumption that the man will foot the bill? 

A lot of my friends, as with many females in this day and age, are the bread winner. So us ladies, who have been taught to be the independent chicks we have all become, work hard to earn the bigger wage but are punished when we come to take time to nurture our babies. 

It could be argued that we do get child benefit in our country which is a real plus. And then there are child tax credits but if you took the average salaries combined for a male and female you wouldn’t be entitled to any of that action either. 

I am so grateful for what we have in the UK as I know so many other countries don’t even provide what we get. But I do think it’s about time that we supported mums who have worked so hard to earn a decent wage and want to be at home with their babies. Or indeed dad’s who take additional paternity leave, as is the case in our house! 

Life Loving Linkie

Diary of an imperfect mum
The Pramshed

31 thoughts on “How are we supposed to survive on maternity pay? 

  1. I couldn’t agree more with this post! I was on maternity pay for a while (until my work shut down half way through my maternity leave!) And I felt like I was suffocating with everything that needed to be done! It’s great we get maternity pay, but I think the £££ should be increased.

    Jordanne ||

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree. SMP is rubbish and not enough to survive on . I’m lucky I managed to get company maternity pay this time but it’s been phased out as apparently it’s too hard to manage leave now dad’s can share the leave. #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I so agree with this. I have said all along that children are often the barrier to equal pay in my opinion too. For me personally, after maternity leave I took a lower paid, local job. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and it means I don’t have a huge commute and only have to pay childcare two days a week. But after childcare, I am pretty much left with what I got on maternity pay. And I can see this being the case until Baby Lighty goes to school. And there will be no other children while we’re in this financial state. AND I work a second job freelance. Sigh. I don’t know what the answer is but I love your post and agree with you wholeheartedly. I found you via #coolmumclub and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really feel like we spend so much time building ourselves up to a point we can provide for another life that when we bring one into the world we should be much better supported! Thank you for stopping by! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s definitely not enough. I was lucky to get enhanced maternity pay through my employer, though I still suffered through those months of statutory maternity pay – and the unpaid months as well, of course! #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an issue that definitely needs highlighting as it affects so many people. I was on a fairly low wage anyway as I am an employee of my husband’s pub, so it’s not been so bad for me as he is the main earner. I have friends who have found it really difficult to adjust though and their partners have been forced to get extra work etc. It just doesn’t add up, and as you say I know we are lucky to get any at all but it is still a struggle for many families. #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I completely agree with what you’ve said here. I’ve read so much about the benefits on children of having time with their parents in their early months. I’ve read so much about the fact that working mums are typically better employees when they return to work (no time to faff when you have do pick-up!). So I struggle to understand why the government can’t give a little more support to families during the first year of a child’s life which, quite frankly, isn’t that long compared to the number of years we work and pay taxes!


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  7. It’s not easy at all. I was made redundant after my second mat leave so am now I suppose ‘unemplyed’ but I often wondr how I’d cope without that redundancy pay! Kids are expensive…
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclun

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m in the real bad times of SMP at the moment because I can’t get government funded hours for Mouse until September, so of my £550 SMP I’m paying about £350 in nursery fees, youch. Plus my mum turns 60 in August and it’s my husband’s birthday so everything is really tight at the moment! Makes me feel icky if I dwell on it for too long. Urgh. #StayClassyMama

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find ignoring it for a while helps, until another blogger goes and writes about it and reminds you haha!! That’s awful you are having such a tricky time. How do we convince our government to better support us ladies I wonder? Thanks for stopping by x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well yes, I realised that’s what I was implying after I hit submit 😂😂 come on 30 free hours, come the hell on. If my daughter had been born a fortnight earlier I’d be home and dry by now! X

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Us too I think we were 2 weeks and 1 day over being able to get our 15 hours so we wait until September! It’s so frustrating. And then it’s only in term time. What do they think we do take holidays every time school breaks up? Craziness that in 2016 working people are least supported x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yep. I can spread the hours with my nursery but obviously still have to pay for meals on top so at first glance I save all the money but on further delving I’m still going to be shelling out a couple of hundred quid from September. Wow I feel so much better now. Shouldn’t have picked your post to comment on 😂😉😍

        Liked by 1 person

  9. At the moment my battle is with Child Maintenance. Having divorced my son’s Father, he now legally has to send me £52 a week. As we both work full time, my son’s nursery bills are about £1000 a month, so my ex gets away with paying me just over £200 a month, and I have to foot the bill for everything else. Without significant help from my family, I would have to quit my job, go on the dole and probably live in council housing and be an even bigger drain on society. Whilst C’s Father would be able to carry on working, earning a decent wage, whilst living in cheaper accommodation that didn’t need to allow for a child to live there too and make a decent living. Why my ex isn’t accountable for more I do not know. It needs serious consideration from our Parliament #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gosh that’s terrible!! I can’t fathom why the system is so that it makes it better for us not to work and claim dole? Surely we need to be supported to stay in work? Ridiculous! Thanks for stopping by x


  10. I was lucky to that my employer topped up my maternity pay – very lucky, because it would have been unmanageable without it. My main gripe now is with the cost of childcare . I am in Dublin and paying 1500 euro a month for 1 child in Creche and 1 in after school care. It’s killing us. #fortheloveofblog

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I know we have had the discussion tonight about what we are going to do when we are both back at work it’s ridiculous! You may as well not work it’s so expensive! Thank you for popping by x


  11. I only work part time so my maternity pay wasn’t that big of a cut, so we haven’t really been affected by it. I can imagine it is difficult if you have a big cut in wage #fortheloveofblog

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow. I didn’t realise maternity pay was so low. You’re right, how are we supposed to survive on that. No wonder so many people cut their maternity short and come back to work before they are fully ready. Really opened my eyes.

    Sally @ Life Loving

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Honestly I completely agree with you. We got into some debt when we had our son because of low maternity pay. Although we had some savings it just didn’t stretch far enough and towards the end of my ML – some months we just couldn’t afford to pay a bill or two and had to put it on a credit card. Then I went back to work and the cost of childcare was had much more of an impact than either of us had realised. Great post, thanks for linking up #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

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