Maternity leave rights all new mums should know about, according to a personal finance expert

Caroline Allen
Contributor

Having a baby is a big life decision in itself and it comes with a whole myriad of questions - not least about your maternity leave rights.

Scouring the internet for this information can be overwhelming, particularly when you’re likely feeling a bit tired in those first weeks of pregnancy.

Knowing your rights won’t just make the conversation with your employer or your self-employed decisions easier, but it’ll take a weight off your shoulders when it comes to planning your time off work.

Personal finance expert, Lynn Beattie - also known as Mrs Mummypenny, explained a woman’s rights on Yahoo UK’s pregnancy video series, The Baby Bump with Lauren Pope.

It's important every pregnant woman knows these rights. (Getty Images)

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“Maternity leave is different for every company but the statutory minimum is that your first six weeks are paid at either 90% of your salary or around £125 per week,” Beattie explains.

The finance expert - who is also bringing out a book entitled The Money Guide To Transform Your Life in September - said that in most cases your employer will give you a little bit extra on top of the statutory minimum.

Dependent on which company you work at, you might find that they have very different plans in place for women, so it’s important to check before taking on a role if you plan to have a baby in the future.

“You don’t have to start your maternity leave until the day your baby is born,” Beattie adds, “let’s say you start your mat leave at 36 weeks because it’s quite hard to get around when you’ve got a very big tummy, what you can do for those last four weeks is use holiday, so you’ll get paid full pay and then you start your maternity leave on the day your baby is born.”

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Speaking about being self-employed, Beattie addresses that it can feel very different.

“You’ve got to force maternity leave when you’re self-employed because you’re not getting paid but try to take as much time as you can.

“It’s a tricky one, because everyone’s different but I tried to take eight or nine months with each baby. They don’t do much when they’re a baby but it’s such a wonderful time for you bonding with that baby.”

If you’re not getting paid well during your maternity leave and you want to earn some extra money, there are good ways of doing that, without missing out on key bonding time with your child.

“I love mystery shopping. I’ve got a mystery shopping company that I work for who pay me to go and review spa days. You get the spa day for nothing and then they pay you as well.’

“Search Pro Insight and register,” Beattie explains, it’s that simple.

Another top tip that Mrs Moneypenny recommends is to sell things you don’t need anymore. A lot of baby bits that you need for the first six months won’t be used that frequently afterwards, so it’s a great opportunity to make back some of that initial outlay.

“Facebook groups are great for some of the big baby stuff. Maximise every opportunity you can to make a bit of extra cash.

“If you set your budget, you know how much time you’ve got off and you know what money is coming in, don’t go over the top spending too much money and just try to enjoy that time.”