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Study: Maternity Leave Puts Mothers in Debt

Almost a third of new mothers go into debt because of maternity leave, while one in 10 cut their time off work short to ease financial pressures, according to a survey.

Some 28% of those surveyed had gone into the red due to their time off work, accruing almost £2,500 in debts, while just a quarter felt financially prepared for motherhood, according to research from uSwitch.com.

Around 11% of mothers said they had been forced to reconsider plans not to return to work.

Mothers who took part in the survey said their net monthly household income had dropped from £2,866 on average to £1,654 typically while they had been on maternity leave.

One in 10 people said they had borrowed cash from relatives, while 14% had used credit cards, loans and overdrafts to help.

Fiona Chan was a sales manager earning £46,000 a year before she went on maternity leave.

She said: “It’s the nappies and the associated things around baby formula – you still need all the bottles and sterilising equipment.

“It’s the big one offs as well that you have to shell out for. I was just living off my overdraft and credit cards for a while and just waiting until I could go back to work full time.”

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com said: “Planning for a baby is tough at the best of times, but in the face of the soaring cost of living there is even more pressure on family finances.

“For some families this can mean some very difficult decisions. It’s heartbreaking that so many mums are being forced into debt or having to cut short their maternity leave just to make ends meet.

“It’s clear that more needs to be done by the Government to help families cope with the financial burden of parenthood, but in the meantime families can help their situation by reviewing household budgets and looking at where they can cut costs to save a bit of extra cash.”

:: More than 1,000 mothers took part in the uSwitch survey.

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