Study: Maternity Leave Puts Mothers in Debt
Almost a third of new mothers go into debt because of maternity leave, while one in 10 cut their time off work short to ease financial pressures, according to a survey.
Some 28% of those surveyed had gone into the red due to their time off work, accruing almost £2,500 in debts, while just a quarter felt financially prepared for motherhood, according to research from uSwitch.com.
Around 11% of mothers said they had been forced to reconsider plans not to return to work.
Mothers who took part in the survey said their net monthly household income had dropped from £2,866 on average to £1,654 typically while they had been on maternity leave.
One in 10 people said they had borrowed cash from relatives, while 14% had used credit cards, loans and overdrafts to help.
Fiona Chan was a sales manager earning £46,000 a year before she went on maternity leave.
She said: "It's the nappies and the associated things around baby formula - you still need all the bottles and sterilising equipment.
"It's the big one offs as well that you have to shell out for. I was just living off my overdraft and credit cards for a while and just waiting until I could go back to work full time."
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com said: "Planning for a baby is tough at the best of times, but in the face of the soaring cost of living there is even more pressure on family finances.
"For some families this can mean some very difficult decisions. It's heartbreaking that so many mums are being forced into debt or having to cut short their maternity leave just to make ends meet.
"It's clear that more needs to be done by the Government to help families cope with the financial burden of parenthood, but in the meantime families can help their situation by reviewing household budgets and looking at where they can cut costs to save a bit of extra cash."
:: More than 1,000 mothers took part in the uSwitch survey.
what do you think?
£46000 a year, plus other halfs salary. i bet there are a lot of new families that wished their combined income was half that (who at present get a lot less). there won't be a lot of sympathy out there. living beyond your means comes to mind.
Agree with you totally, if this woman's salary was £46k she should have saved some to tide her over, Yes Living beyond your means is a cause of a lot of problems got to have everything new etc. Applaud some of the mum's on here who have comman sense and thriftiness.
Simple... dont have kids then....
Could not agree more Louise... if you cannot afford to look after kids, don't have them. This will eleviate the burdon from yourselves and the goverment. (Accidents do happen and that cannot be helped... but people should save in preparation for emergencies like this and not depend on loans.) There is to much of spending money that is not really available. People wants things today, rather than save and earn the right to have it whether it be a TV set, carpet,holiday, baby. C
Its not maternity leave that put mothers into debt but mothers who put themselves into dept If you can't afford the price don't buy the goods.
It seems we are like minded....... the old saying is..."If you cant feed, dont breed". I paid for my children and only had what I could afford. No accidents in my day!!!!
What a refreshing change, Louise, to hear from a mother with some common sense and good old fashioned values. I wouldn't mind betting that your kids turned out as good as anyone's!
They turned out even better stew.... they are paying for their own kids
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Roy E Millington
there shouldnt be any cost to the country/tax payers for people wanting a family you want kids you be able to look after them out of your own pocket.
How is it the Government's responsibility if people have children they cannot afford? This attitude is why as a country we are in the dung. Nobody will take responsibility for their actions and politicians pander to this to win votes and keep cushy jobs and good pensions.
There is always the other option of throwing in the job and having absolutely everything paid for by the State! I believe it is fair and right that there is such a thing as Maternity Pay because working women and their husbands have paid taxes and in my book that entitles them to some support when they need it. But I would like to see it means tested.
Another state regulation that back fires, we need less state & less taxes...
Having children is expensive and as a new mum you do feel a lot of pressure to provide the best for your child. However, you can recycle and reuse - a friend gave me loads of used baby clothes and I have bought the pushchair and most of the toys from ebay or charity shops, at considerably less than market value (my pushchair cost £60!). This has left my money free for the essentials - nappies, formula, bottles, medicines etc, which I buy supermarket own-brand or wait til there's a 3-for-2 for expensive items. If you're savvy and do your homework and aren't too snobby, you can provide everything you want for your child without putting yourself in the red. £46,000 a year, yes I would be laughing, but the question is why did the news reporter pick such a high earner to illustrate the story with? Surely they could have found people with genuine financial difficulties if they had bothered to look harder (and weren't so London-centric)? And I agree with Bruce, maternity leave is all very well, but the real struggle comes when you have to go back to work - childcare is horrendously expensive (even outside London) and children (should) get better support and education from their parents during the first few years - why is motherhood so denigrated as role these days? When you look at the way young people are being portrayed in the news as violent, alcohol-swigging, knife-carrying, hoodied granny-robbing thugs, why are we not re-examining the way in which children are raised in this country? Mothers are the guardians of the future, a bit more support would be nice - not necessarily of the financial kind!
Completely agree i left a similar comment before reading what you've written so we are very like minded peeps. :-) I left work after my first child then once she was over 8 months old took a part time job to ease the financial strain, so when i was working my husband looked after her and vise versa this continued after my 2nd daughter was born, so you can reorganise your life as you need to. Plus i wish our joint earnings now were any where near the above mentioned wage. I'd think we won the lottery LOL
I agree! The woman in the story earns the same as me though, and although it may seem a lot, you live according to your means and so when the mortgage stung and my husband lost his job, things were tight and ruined our plans. But I do agree with you - the fool in the story is a whinger. I would never make such a fuss - I've learned to be content with my lot!
Sorry to have heard your husband losing his job, it must have been a very worrying time for you, I hope he is in employment now. If everyone tried to live within their means things might be a little better for everyone. I mean our motor insurance goes up due to uninsured drivers, taxes rise because people are claiming benifits they don't really need/deserve, life is hard enough without paying OTT prices for everything. The biggest over spenders of course being our government.
Roy E Millington
People who want kids should be able to support them without asking the rest of the country to pay extra in taxes. If we are going to pay child allowance it should only be for the first two kids like it used to be, this would stop the overcrowding that is happeningin this countryand would eventually stop a big drain on the health and utility sevices
It seems that the vast majority are of the same mind as Louise, and they can't all be wrong! And as for citing £46,000 as an example, well no sympathy from me. It's about time some of them learned to wash nappies instead of spending a small fortune on environmentally toxic disposables, heaven knows, young mothers used to manage with the old twin tub, if they were that well off!
I like you stewgwyn, you speak sense. Have you ever seen the amount of kit that people carry with them for their babies just to go shopping? I had 3 children and between these children they went on to have 8 between them. The sum is still far from £46,000 for the lot. What on earth are they buying?????
I'd go along with that. I'm still paying off debts from having my two and they are 12 & 7! We used credit cards for food shopping, petrol and to pay for any 'surprise' bills. The other side of it is though, WE made the choice, nobody made us have children. We CHOSE to.
Lisa Maria Russ
This is so true - I am due to have my first child in 5 weeks and I am working until the day so that I can have as much time affordable off with my daughter. It makes me sick that some people on here are complaining about women struggling while on maternity leave - Do you even know what amount you get?? Probably not I only earn 12,000 a year huband is minumum wage and we have a bloomin mortgage to - seems people trying to do things the right old fashioned way these days get dumped on - The country is in a mess due to lazy people not working when they could be and women having babies left right and centre and living off the government! It would be easier for me and my husband to divorce and me quit my job and live in a council house with everything paid for. Working people in this country get no help at all. Id love to be a stay at home mum too after my daughter is born but with the amount it costs to live today its not viable - I don't know you work hard all your life and still get no help! Let's all just doss about!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
I always say kids are expensive as you make them, a new born baby doesn't care if it's clothes came from a supermarket or a poundstore it's the parents that want designer stuff/high branded items like clothes, pushchairs and cots. What's wrong with buying from charity shops, it both recyles and reuses. Some people are just too snobby to borrow or buy cheaply say a moses basket even though they will only use it for about 6 weeks. I was luckly to be given the big things like a cot and a pram/pushchair and a high chair as gifts from excited grandparents but i never turned down people offering to lend/give me baby clothes, toys etc. There is no shame in accepting "hand me downs" it both saves money and gets the use out of items that would otherwise not be needed.
Agree with you 100%! I've got my baby so many toys from ebay and charity shops, and got lots of weaning equipment from poundland too!
Christina great a like minded person or 2 on this page, as i said there is no shame in not buying designer clothing and nursery equipment for your baby. I'd rather treat my children to family days out then a designer pair of trainers that'll last 6 months if that.
Its like a car if you cannot afford to repair it when it goes wrong then dont have it,same thing here children cost you money if you cannot afford it then dont have them.Before people say if you had children - well i have 2 girls when we had them over 20 years ago times were very tight but we managed on 1 wage which was not a lot and didnt get much help from the social, not like they do now.
It's such a shame...I'm in the same spot.we are having our first child in June and we are already dreading the outcomes.we weren't foolish we waited till I was 38 and partner was 40 but now with tax credit cut backs also we have even more money to find even when I return following maternity leave.at best I'm having 7 months off with our child...I have to return to work end of...no discussion there and I never expected not to but we are being squeezed even tighter as its either I continue as full time on my return and pay majority of my wages in childcare or I work part time to try to save on the childcare costs...we are in a no win situation made worse by the increases in fuel costs...general food shopping in general and tax credit cuts. We don't earn masses and we struggle to reach the previous threshold of 40k but only single parents or very low earners will get 26k or under to qualify.I begrudge all the years I have worked and paid throughout full taxes to get absolutely nothing when I could do with a hand to continue to work as the government wishes and still raise a family.
Go Louise! I also earn a highish wage but various disasters have meant that times have been hard here and so my husband and I haven't had kids. There's no way I'd do that when I couldn't afford them. Something I once expected and assumed would happen will probably not now but we have taken from no-one and expect no handouts either. I shall remain a childless shrew, but with a clear conscience!
It`s so sad that things have got to the stage where a mother and baby have to be separated so soon after birth - it does harm to the baby and to the mother and goes totally against nature. I don`t know how a mother can hand her young babe over to an unfamiliar child minder and entrust their care to a person whose main goal is financial gain. Its awful to hear people talk about having to buy disposable nappies and formula when terry nappies are still available and breast milk is free.