25% fewer employers pay full maternity benefit since recession


The number of employers offering their employees full maternity benefit has declined by more than a quarter since the recession began, according to a new survey.

At the same time, the number of employers offering no extra payments on top of the statutory benefit, which was cut in the present budget has increased, according to the study by recruitment specialists Principle which compares maternity benefits in 2013 to how they were at the end of the Celtic Tiger in 2008.

Maternity benefit was hit again in the budget with the State’s contribution being reduced from €262 a week to €230 in most cases.

Liable for tax
In July 2012, maternity benefit became liable for tax for the first time. For women on the top rate of tax, maternity benefit has fallen 48 per cent since 2008.

The survey was carried out among 140 jobseekers, those in employment and HR specialists. Those sampled were all women aged 25-45. Some 44 per cent worked in organisations with more than 300 employees while 30 per cent worked in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with between one and 49 employees.

The number of employers offering full pay for 26 weeks has reduced from 50 per cent to 36.7 per cent. Partial payments have increased by 13 per cent which would indicate that some employers who paid a full contribution in 2008 reverted to a partial contribution when the recession struck.

The number of employers paying nothing increased slightly from 19 per cent in 2008 to 22.5 per cent this year.

Of those returning to work, 79 per cent returned full-time, 15 per cent part-time and6 per cent did flexi-hours. This is a substantial increase on 2008 when 61 per cent returned to work full-time indicating that the deterioration in take home pay may be contributing to more women working full time after maternity leave.