In this video we talk to Maternity Alliance, a national charity that helps new parents make the most of their money.
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Catrina Skepper: Having a baby is an exciting time in any woman's life, 0stopping work, having time to prepare for the birth, and having leave to bond with your baby is all part of the maternity package, but how many of us really know what our rights are with regard to funds available to parents who have just had a child. With me from the Maternity Alliance is Jenny North. Welcome Jenny. Jenny North: Hi! Catrina Skepper: Now what exactly is the Maternity Alliance? Are you a government body? Jenny North: We are national charity actually. We have been around for about 25 years and we campaign for better rights for mothers and babies, particular the West off. Catrina Skepper: Now particularly those rights have changed over the years. What now specifically do you get asked? What is the most commonly asked question for help? Jenny North: Still people want to know how to work out, whether they are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay. We also get lot of queries from women who are having difficulties with their bosses who maybe unsympathetic when they fall pregnant. Catrina Skepper: Now Statutory Maternity Pay is for people who are working, correct. Statutory Maternity Pay is people for who are in work at the moment, during their pregnancy? Jenny North: Yes mainly. There are a few exceptions. If you were working up to your qualifying week which I will explain later, and then you stop work after that, you still receive Statutory Maternity Pay even if you are fired or may redundant or your contract ended. Catrina Skepper: Right. So a woman has just discovered she is pregnant, does she approach her boss immediately? Does she ring you? Jenny North: Well, she can ring us to find exactly what's going on and/or she can look at our website or I send them to one of our fact sheets, but she should write a letter to her boss around the 11 week of her pregnancy just to let him know that she is pregnant. After the qualifying week, you can then talk about when you will -- Catrina Skepper: What is the qualifying week? Jenny North: The qualifying week, to work it out, you take your due day, and you go the Sunday before the baby is due or that day if your baby is due on Sunday and work out 15 Sundays before that, and that Sunday is going to be your qualifying week and that's the week that you have to be working to claim Statutory Maternity Pay. Catrina Skepper: Right. So what are the differences between Statutory Maternity Pay? Is there no any other benefit that a woman can get from the government while she is pregnant? Jenny North: No, there are. Statutory Maternity Pay isn't a benefit. It's what you get, because you are in work. There are other financial benefits you maybe getting, but most of the new ones, the ones you talked before will kick in once your baby is born. Catrina Skepper: Okay. So the government is responsible for looking after your obviously if you are not employee, there are certain benefits which will come to you later. But as far as your employer is concerned, they are beholden even if you are on Sure Start time contract? Jenny North: As long as you have been working in your qualifying week, you will get Statutory Maternity Pay and to be honest, the government pays back, I think, 90 percent of your Statutory Maternity Pay. They go back to the employer. Catrina Skepper: Right. I was going to say, because one might feel quite guilty, if this is just a temporary position or something -- so she felt guilty to go for it. Jenny North: Absolutely not. Catrina Skepper: What other advice would you give to women to find out their rights during this time? Jenny North: Talk to your midwife, because midwives or health business or GPs can actually trigger quite a few benefits for low-income women. Talk to friends mainly, friends who have babies. Catrina Skepper: What do you mean by trigger? Jenny North: So there are some benefits that your midwife will have to help you fill in the form for and she should know about all the benefits that you may