Pregnant pauseAssuming that you’ve already told your employer that you’re expecting, find out what support and benefits your company offers new parents. Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers, says you should speak to your HR team to understand your employer’s maternity and paternity policies – this is a good starting point to gauge how you will be affected financially once your baby is born. Makings suggests you should find out whether you can share some of your leave with your partner, and whether there would be any circumstances in which you would need to repay any of your parental rewards (such as if you decide not to return to work).
Another question worth raising is what happens to your pension during parental leave. Some employers will continue to contribute into your workplace pension while you’re on leave, but if they don’t, Makings advises that you should consider if you can make up contributions when you go back to work. Also, make sure that you claim child benefits (even if you’re a high-rate taxpayer), because stay-at-home parents who don’t register can end up losing the National Insurance credits needed to qualify for state pension, and this can be costly later in life. Read more: Fail to claim child benefits and you could lose thousands in pension money Some workplaces offer other support, such as childcare vouchers or creche facilities for when you return to work, so find out whether any schemes are available.