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A precious time for Mother and child.
Member Name: SamPerry
Advantages: Spend time with your baby, dont have to get up for work!!
Disadvantages: Low maternity pay.
The moment I found out I was pregnant with my first baby I started looking into my maternity entitlements. I work for a small company so discovered that our maternity leave was the minimum that we had to be awarded by law. However some companies are more generous than this, so always make sure you check this with your HR department.
The current statutory maternity leave is that every Mother is entitled to take a full year off work when you have a baby. However you are paid 90% of your wage for the first six weeks and then you are paid for upto 39 weeks at statutory maternity pay which is currently £117.18 per week (this rises to £123.06 from the 5th April 2009); if you would like to take the full year of then weeks 39 - 52 have to be taken unpaid.
To qualify for maternity pay you must have been employed by the same employer continuously (some breaks do not interrupt continuous employment) for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before the week your baby is due and be earning an average of at least £90 a week (before tax)
After looking into the entitlement, I decided that I would take the full 39 weeks off and then return to work. To be honest if I had the choice I would not have returned to work at all, but we simply could not afford to manage without my income.
I think that the rate of maternity pay is really poor, to say that my personal outgoings for things like mortgage, bills, direct debits etc add up to roughly £700 per month I could see that I was going to have to save like mad while I was still at work in order to have enough money to survive for the 39 weeks I was off work.
I feel that the poor rate of pay forces some Mothers into returning to work earlier than they would like as they can't afford to pay their bills if they don't. This then leads to the Mother and baby not having enough time to bond, which is a great shame.
I enjoyed every minute of my maternity leave, some of my friends said that it was too long for them and they couldn't wait to get back to work, but not me. I treasured every precious moment I spent with my son, I loved to see him grow and develop each day and to be the one that would spend all my time with him.
I returned to work 2 months ago now and it was ne of the hardest things ive ever had to do. The first day I left him at nursery I felt like my heart would literally break and I broke down in tears. I am very pleased to say that Rhys didn't give me a backwards glance and really enjoys his time at nursery!!
The length of time to take on maternity leave is a completely personal choice and greatly depends on your income and how long you can afford to take. The next time I have a baby I will once again take the maximum time off that I can whilst being paid
I have now settled back in at work and do quite enjoy the time I spend there, although I would much rather be at home with my boy!!!
Summary: I wish it could have been longer!!
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