Benefits for new parents

benefits information for new pARENTS

There are numerous benefits available for new mums, dads and their children. Make sure you take advantage of the financial help there is! The list below should be a useful guide to maternity, paternity and child benefits.

Child Trust Fund – is a savings and investments account set up by the Government, and is for all children living in the UK born on or after 1 September 2002. Once you have registered for Child Benefit the Government will send your child a voucher worth £250 to start their own Child Trust Fund account. To find out more visit www.childtrustfund.gov.uk

• Child Benefit – is a benefit for people bringing up children and is paid for each child. It is not affected by income or savings. Child Benefit for your eldest child is £17.45 a week and £11.70 for each additional child. To find out more visit www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/YourMoney/
DG_10016699
. Now you can also register for Child Benefit online at https://esd.dwp.gov.uk

• Child Tax Credit – is support for families with children. You can claim whether or not you are working. All families with children, with income of up to £58,000 a year (or up to £66,000 a year if there is a child under one year old), can claim the credit in the same way. To find out if you are able to claim Child Tax Credit go to www.taxcredits.inlandrevenue.gov.uk to check. You can find more information about Tax Credit on www.hmrc.gov.uk/leaflets/wtc2.htm.

• Child Care Vouchers – If your employer offers you tax-and National Insurance Contributions-free childcare in the form of childcare vouchers, directly contracted childcare or a workplace nursery scheme, it is up to you whether you decide to participate in your employer’s scheme. You should also carefully read the terms of your employer’s scheme and make sure that you understand what the scheme is offering you. By taking up Child Care Vouchers you might be sacrificing Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit contributions. For examples of how Child Care Voucher schemes interact with Tax Credits visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/childcare/interaction-tc-cv.htm.

• Maternity Leave – if you are employed you are entitled to a minimum statutory leave to care for your baby. Always check your employment contract to see whether your employer offers their own Maternity leave scheme, which you might want to take. If your baby is born after 1 April 2007 you are entitled to take up to one year’s (52 weeks) maternity leave, regardless of length of service with the employer and Statutory Maternity Pay entitlement will be extended to 36 weeks. For more details please visit www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/WorkAndFamilies/DG_10029285

• Paternity Leave - If you’ve worked for your employer before your partner's pregnancy began you probably have the right to paid paternity leave. You can take either one week’s, or two consecutive weeks’ paternity leave and during this time you may be entitled to Paternity Pay. To find out more and if you qualify visit www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Workingparents/DG_10029398.

• Parental Leave - if you are a parent of children under five, or disabled children under 18, you have a statutory right to take unpaid time off work to care for them. If you’ve worked for the same employer for a year you can take:
13 weeks off work in total for each child, up to their fifth birthday
18 weeks for each disabled child, up to the child’s 18th birthday
You need to meet certain conditions to be entitled to Parental Leave – please visit www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Workingparents/DG_10029416.

• Flexible Working - 'Flexible working' is a phrase that describes any working pattern adapted to suit your needs. The Flexible working law allows parents with a child under 6 to make a request for flexible working. Employers, in turn, have a duty to consider such request seriously and only reject it for good business reasons. Many employers have their own procedure for requesting a flexible working pattern so check your contract or speak to your HR department. More information on Flexible Working and Work-Life Balance is available at www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/WorkingHoursAndTimeOff/DG_10029491

The information above is intended to be only a guide – please visit the relevant websites for all the details and how to claim your benefits. Last updated April 2007.