How long you spend on maternity leave often depends on how long you can afford to stay off work. Read five ways to make your money go further on maternity leave – and how you can even MAKE money.
Many new mums relish the time they have away from their career to spend with their new baby, and the prospect of returning to work can seem a little painful. So imagine if you could find a way to eke out your maternity money further, and extend your maternity leave, if that’s what you wanted?
That’s just what HR specialist Yvonne Akinmodun can help you to do, by suggesting five ways you can make your money go further on maternity leave.
Five ways to make your money go further on maternity leave
If you’re desperate to spend more time away from work with your baby, try these five suggestions for helping your finances go further.
1) Use your Keeping In Touch Days
Keeping In Touch days were introduced by the government to help you do exactly that – keep up to date with what is happening in your workplace while you’re on maternity leave, to ease your transition back to work again afterwards. They mean that you can take on a few hours of work while you’re on maternity leave without affecting your Statutory Pay.
You can usually work for up to 10 days, which can be spread over the period of your maternity leave. And the great news is that you can be paid for the time you work AND still get your maternity pay (you can find out more about how Keeping In Touch days work here), which can help to ease some of the financial pressure of maternity leave without needing to fully return to work.
2) Make wise use of your holiday entitlements
Many women forget that you are entitled to paid holiday by your employer during your maternity leave. If you’re a full time employee, this can vary from four weeks (or 20 days) to six weeks (30 days), depending on your employment contract.
And if you haven’t used up all your leave before maternity leave, you are likely to have a few days owing before your maternity leave even starts. You also accrue holiday leave during your maternity leave, which means you get more leave added to that, too.
You can choose to add your holiday entitlement onto your maternity leave to extend it, or in some instances, employers may even offer a cash replacement for your holiday entitlement if you return on time.
3) Share your maternity leave with your partner
From 2015, you’ll be able to share your maternity leave with your partner – something that may appeal to you if you earn more than your partner.
If you decide to share your leave with your partner, you’ll still be entitled to 12 months paid leave, but only nine of the 12 months has guaranteed pay. You’ll also still be entitled to your 10 Keeping In Touch days. (You can read more about shared parental leave here.)
4) Check whether you’re entitled to Child Benefit
In April 2013, Child Benefit was capped based on the household income. If you became disqualified for Child Benefit due to your household income, and are now on half pay from your employer or receiving Statutory Maternity Allowance, it’s worth checking to see if you may be entitled to Child Benefit.
If your income has stopped or decreased, you may qualify again during your maternity leave. And while it may not be much, every little helps!
5) Make use of eBay and Gumtree
There’s no getting around the fact that babies can be expensive. A recent survey by Aviva revealed that we spend an average of £1,600 preparing for our first baby – but actually use very few of the things we buy.
So it makes sense to save money where you can by buying secondhand. Many secondhand baby items have barely been used, and are a fraction of the cost of buying them new.
If your own baby items are in good condition (or not even used!) you can sell them when you’re finished with them too. Clever buying and selling (don’t just stick to baby things either… preparing for a new baby is a great excuse to have a sort out and get rid of lots of things you don’t need any more) can help you save and make a few pounds towards a less financially stressful maternity leave.
Want to actually MAKE money on maternity leave?
Many mums use their break from employment while on maternity leave as an opportunity to finally pursue a business idea they’ve been dreaming of, or to acquire the skills they need for a career change.
Mum Alexandra de Faucigny used her two maternity leave periods to launch Tendre Deal, an online children swear boutique specialising in French brands, and Lucy Woodhouse came up with an idea for healthy ice lollies made from Greek yoghurt while on maternity leave. Today, Claudi & Fin products are stocked in 250 Sainsbury’s stores across the UK.
So how can you use your maternity leave to pursue a dream? Here are some articles that may help:
- Five ideas for businesses you can start at home.
- Six business ideas for mums.
- Five reasons why mums’ businesses fail (and how to avoid them!)
- How to train to become an expert social media consultant.
- How to train to be a freelance copywriter at home.
Join Activate and start making progress now!
Whatever your ambition – whether you want to start a business or blog, go freelance or change career, we’ve designed a monthly membership club packed with the support and tools you need to make a success of it, including:
- Easy-to-follow step-by-step guides to getting started on your ambition – and making it a success.
- Printable tools, templates, tick lists, workbooks, cheat sheets and plans to help you make effective progress.
- No waffle 30-minute training videos full of practical tips you can implement immediately.
- Support, accountability and motivation via our monthly live chats and private Facebook groups.
You can find out more about Activate (and get a sneak peek inside in our video) here.
If you’d like more advice on your entitlements during maternity leave, you can get in contact with Yvonne at Our HR Dept and she’ll be happy to help.Yvonne Akinmodun