Parents losing £224 due to maternity and paternity pay rates

Government plans to limit annual increases to maternity and paternity pay to 1% will mean that by 2015 parents lose out by around £224, according to research by the National Childbirth Trust, based on IPPR analysis.

Government plans to limit annual increases to maternity and paternity pay to 1% will mean that by 2015 parents lose out by around £224, according to research by the National Childbirth Trust, based on IPPR analysis.

Ahead of the 2014 budget, the NCT is calling on the government to end what it calls a "parent penalty" and raise maternity and paternity pay in line with the cost of living.

NCT chief executive Belinda Phipps said:"Parents living on statutory maternity or paternity pay are already receiving around £100 less a week than the minimum wage.

"By limiting the increase to maternity and paternity pay to just 1%, the government is hitting family finances hard and costing them around £224 a year while on maternity leave. This parent penalty can buy a lot of baby essentials – a year’s supply of sleep suits, 1,500 nappies or pay for heating bills for two months.

“The government should start showing they value parents by increasing maternity and paternity pay in line with inflation. This would allow parents to focus on their new family rather than worrying whether they can make ends meet.”

Currently statutory pay for parental leave is £136 per week, compared to £236 for a full-time minimum wage job (rising to £243 in October 2014).

Research commissioned by NCT shows that this change will hit the poorest fifth of families hardest. On average, they will lose the equivalent of 1.9% of their weekly net income, compared to the richest households who will lose 0.6%. The research also shows that families with fewer children will be hit harder.

NCT has previously raised concerns that limiting the annual increase in maternity and paternity pay will reduce the chances of dads taking up much-welcomed shared parental leave.





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