Just found out there's a little one on the way? Congratulations! Though it's only 9 months away from the big day, it's always best to plan ahead. If you are a single household or have a partner, you still might be concerned about finances for when you are on maternity leave. We're going to look out whether you can be covered by income protection on maternity, or if there's another route to take?
You might already have an income protection insurance policy, or are planning to take out one shortly. Here are some important things to know about income protection & maternity leave and whether you can make a claim.
What is Income Protection?
Income Protection (once known as permanent health insurance) is a type of insurance policy that will pay out if you are unable to work due to injury or illness. The policy may continue to pay out until the end of the pay out term, the end of the policy term, when you return to work or if you pass away - whichever is earliest.
It's important to highlight that Income protection is different to critical illness insurance - which cashes out a lump sum if you were to become seriously ill and diagnosed with a condition which meets your chosen provider's definition of the illness.
Statutory maternity pay - what is it?
When you are scheduled to be on maternity leave your employer will pay you what is known as statutory maternity pay (similar to statutory sick pay), though it only provides a limited amount of support.
According to GOV.UK you may be eligible to receive:
£151.97 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whatever's lowest) for 39 weeks
£27 a week for 39 weeks
Or £27 a week for 14 weeks
This gets paid every 2-4 weeks and can be claimed once you have been 26 weeks pregnant. Typically, payments begin 11 weeks before your baby is due to be born.
This is the standard type of support you can receive, though there are other options available depending on your circumstances such as:
Contractual maternity pay - This is offered by some employers instead of statutory maternity pay. If you're unsure what you are entitled to in your employment contract, get in touch with your employer and they should be able to tell you.
Maternity Allowance - If your employer doesn't offer Statutory maternity pay, the government can provide you with support.
If you require more information on the types of maternity support available, contact your local citizen's advice bureau.
Does income protection cover maternity leave?
Seeing how Income protection or sick pay protects your income if you can't work due to injury or illness, where does maternity leave fall under?
Sadly income protection does not cover maternity leave and whilst some might argue that pregnancy and childbirth can be just as uncomfortable as any injury or illness, it does not fall into that category.
This is because pregnancy and giving birth are neither unexpected nor actual illnesses. In the insurance world childbirth, pregnancy, and maternity leave are seen as much of the same (Though there are in fact some big differences).
When you take out an income protection insurance policy, it will be outlined in the terms and conditions that pregnancy, childbirth, and maternity leave are all excluded from any protection during your policy.
If you already have income protection insurance and become pregnant, you won't be able to pay out as stated above. Your policy will be placed on temporary hold or suspended whilst you are on maternity leave. The insurance provider will expect you to return to work once your maternity leave has finished to restart your income protection policy.
If you are looking to apply for an Income Protection policy but are currently on maternity leave, it might be worth you getting in touch with our team of friendly and professional advisers by calling 01392 43 61 93. They will be more than happy to discuss the options available to you both now and once you return to work following your maternity leave.
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What alternatives are available?
As mentioned previously, statutory maternity pay is the only income support that can be provided to you during pregnancy, childbirth, and maternity leave. Sadly, there is no such thing as maternity or pregnancy insurance (who knows what the future might hold!).
Giving birth to a child is considered a lifestyle choice; it will not be covered by insurance that supports income (such as an income protection policy). However, there are some benefits and pay-outs that can be claimed for pregnancy through many health insurance policies.
Some employers & companies provide paid maternity leave, which can support you during your maternity leave. If you haven't already, it's a good idea to look into an income protection policy to protect you and your loved ones upon your return to work. Learn more information about Income protection and how it works.
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