Mums go back to work to tackle spiralling debt

Over half of maternity returners are forced back to work for financial reasons, according to a new survey.

Over half of maternity returners are forced back to work for financial reasons, according to a new survey.
 
The research which was carried out by price comparison website, uswitch.com finds that 52% of mums returned to work after the birth of their child to ease financial concerns. Just 22% did so because they wanted to continue their career. One in ten cut their maternity leave short in order to make ends meet.
 
The average family sees a 34% drop in their net monthly household income during the maternity leave period with income dropping amongst respondents from £3,431 a month to £2,266 a month while on statutory maternity pay.
 
According to the survey, at the same time costs rocket with the average mum spending £2,152 on baby items prior to giving birth and an additional £2,521 once the baby arrives.
 
On average expectant parents save £3,265 to help limit the impact of losing a large chunk of their net household income but most parents are unprepared. The survey shows that almost six in ten mums fail to prepare financially in the run-up to the birth. Just a quarter (25%) are fully equipped to fund their maternity leave with 29% saving less than £1,000 to help see them through. Failing to save prior to the birth comes despite a quarter of new mothers (27%) say that going on maternity leave has a much greater financial impact than anticipated, while four in ten (41%) say it is as tough as expected.
 
A lucky one in ten (9%) don’t need to worry as their partner’s income is enough to ease the financial strain.
As well as not saving, almost three in ten new mums (29%) are not aware of their company’s maternity package prior to taking maternity leave, while a further three in ten (30%) know that the package isn’t ideal but don’t want to wait any longer to have children.
 
Sadly, four in ten new mums (41%) end up in debt during maternity leave. The average debt incurred is £1,329One in ten (9%) end up re-thinking their intention to be a stay-at-home mum, while a further one in ten (9%) are forced to cut their maternity leave short, returning to work sooner than they would like in order to make ends meet.
 
But despite debt and financial considerations being the biggest driver behind new mothers returning to work, 40% of those who return end up taking a pay cut to go part-time. Tellingly, just 21% of new mothers returning to work believe that their future progression and earning capacity is unaffected by their maternity break.
 
Ann Robinson, consumer policy director at uSwitch.com, said: “Preparation is key for those planning a family. Check out your company’s maternity policy, calculate how much you will need to survive, save money in readiness and cut down on household bills and unnecessary expenses. By keeping a tight lid on your household budget hopefully you will remember your maternity leave for the right reasons and not for the financial headache and debt it can bring.”





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