This is how much of their salary women will lose on maternity leave

In a bid to highlight the unrealistic expectations of what women are expected to live on whilst on maternity leave, new data from Officeology has revealed how much money on average women will lose, pre-tax, based on yearly salaries. 

With Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) only paying women 90% of their Annual Weekly Earnings (AWL) for the first six weeks, and then dropping to £172.48 or 90% of their AWL (whichever is lowest) for the following 33 weeks, it means if they take up to a year off, women have to go 13 weeks unpaid. 

For those who are on just under £23,000 a year, they can expect to lose around 65% of their wage, receiving around only £8,000 for the year to live on whilst on Maternity Leave.  

As the yearly salary increases, the amount lost by being on maternity leave increases, with those earning £34,000 looking to forfeit approximately 73% of their annual earnings. 

According to Adam Butler, workplace solutions expert and CEO of Officeology, there are a few measures employers can put in place to support employees before, during and after maternity leave: 

“Firstly, when an employee announces they are expecting a baby, it’s important to be as accommodating as possible, even before they go on maternity leave. 

“For example, giving them paid leave to attend appointments, such as ante-natal classes and scans, should be a given, as well as reducing workload. This will help your employee avoid any feelings of overwhelm while they navigate through a new time for them, as well as reducing any worry they may have around asking for time off work to attend hospital appointments. From an employer’s perspective, this will help to maintain the wellbeing of your staff, and ensure a positive work environment for them while they are pregnant. 

“During maternity leave, employers should have a suitable and realistic policy in place that ensures their employee will be able to financially support themselves whilst being off work. 

For instance, having a policy that extends their 90% pay entitlement would be the ideal solution. Statutory Maternity Pay only allows women to receive 90% of their salary for the first 6 weeks. However, employers can choose to extend this, and I believe they should ensure women are able to financially support themselves and their new baby for longer.  

However, for those companies that are unable to do this, then other factors, such as allowing employees to accrue annual leave days and use these whilst they are off work is a good alternative. 

“Furthermore, the length of time father’s are allowed to have for paternity leave should also be extended, and either full pay or 90% of pay given. Currently, fathers-to-be usually take only two weeks off, which is by no means enough time for them to be there to support their partner who has just given birth, nor give them a substantial time themselves to bond with their newborn baby. Therefore, by extending this to even just a month, it takes the pressure off both parents and enables them to have a strong support system at home in the first few weeks of having their new addition. 

“Finally, when it’s time for the employee to come back to work, there are a number of processes that companies can introduce to ensure the wellbeing of their staff, without compromising company outcomes. 

“Firstly, allowing flexible working for parents is a great way to help them adapt to their new life with a newborn. It enables a healthy work/life balance without having to reduce working hours. 

“Furthermore, many companies state that women have to go back full-time, or risk having to pay part of their maternity leave back. However,  giving your employees the option to drop down to part-time, without being penalised financially, will help to retain staff in the long-term.”

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

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