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Maternity Leave is regarded by some as the ultimate privilege. A time dedicated to a new baby with no work distractions, just you, your new family and new-mum friends. When reality hits it can be a shock. Aside of the nappy brain, the constant guilt and persistent fear of harm your baby may come to; there is the adjustment to managing on Statutory Maternity Pay.

For many new families, surviving on one salary is a struggle. The decision to return to work is, financially, taken out of their hands; it is a necessity for their family’s survival. For those that do have a choice, there are many that have to make life-changing life-style sacrifices. So if redundancy, an accident or sickness struck at that juncture in your life, how would you and your new family cope? If two salaries are necessary, could you manage on just one? If you’ve adapted to living with just one salary, could you survive with no income at all?

The Office for National Statistics’ figures on the UK Labour Market September 2013, confirms employment has risen, but the number of both men and women resorting to part-time work has greatly increased. The proportion of the work force currently in part-time work due to not finding a full time job has nearly doubled increasing from 16.6% in 2008 to 32.6% in 2013 for men and from 7.1% in 2008 to 13.5% in 2013 for women. This is particularly relevant for families. It’s easy to assume that if you were made redundant you wouldn’t be for long. These figures show while that may be the case, it could be on a part-time basis only. Would one and a half salaries cover the costs of your family? If one parent has already reduced their working hours to accommodate parenting, would two part-time wages in the same family be sustainable? Or what about just one part-time wage? Ross Hebden, Head of Income Protection at insurance broker Family Insurance Services noted “If the plan was to increase the hours of the part-time worker in order to maintain the family while the full time worker is redundant, it’s possible that back-up plan may back-fire. Employers may not be in a position to increase working hours. Committing to an Income Protection policy would be a much more viable plan.”

The impact of redundancy and reducing the household income has many repercussions. There are the obvious immediate effects; managing rent or mortgage payments, paying for food and utilities, maintaining a car etc. and lots of well publicised budget cuts can be made in response to these demands on a short term provision. But what happens when employment cannot be sought and arrears are accrued to an untenable level?

There is an emotional impact too. If the worst happened and your home was repossessed what impact would this have on the children? A profound one at a guess. There would be embarrassment and shock, bewilderment and anger. And what about practicalities? Even before a home is lost, paying for child care is likely to no longer be affordable. This could have implications for job hunters. If children cannot be looked after for interviews and other commitments entailed with looking for work, securing a new role could prove difficult.

Whether you’re a working mother or not, whether the decision to return to work was a clear choice or one that was financially forced upon you, surviving on one or less salary is a thought that should not be ignored.

To speak to one of our specialist Income and Mortgage Protection Advisors click here or call 0808 168 1262.

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