I'm worried I am totally missing how maternity pay works. I plan to stay off until the 12 weeks at 50% runs out. If my thinking is right, at this stage i will only be a couple of hundred pounds worse off than normal? Lets say i take home £1500 a month, with occupational maternity pay that will equate to £750 a month, but then i will get £120 SMP a week - so an extra £480. Together that means ill take home, at its lowest, £1170?? Dont get me wrong, i know £300 is alot of money, but it's not going to cause bankrupcy (in my case anyway!). Givent that i usually pay £250 a month in petrol, i dont think i'll notice much of a difference at all?! Is the case that people struggle if they stay off beyond those 12 weeks? OR do i have all this completely wrong?