Dear Miss Emily

I am 21years old and 13 weeks pregnant, I rent a house privately on my own and receive money in housing benefit due to a low income. I work part time for my step-father (between 12-16 hours a week), however, my mother and step- father have just split up, due to him having an affair. I am in such an awkward situation due to working with him. I feel really stressed, and now hate going to work with him; however, I know I will not find another job now due to being pregnant. I don't know what to do? If I quit my job, will I be entitled to any benefits until I have the baby? And will I still be entitled to any maternity pay? I really need some advice as this situation is terrible. I feel sick with nerves everyday coming to work and I know I cannot take maternity leave until 11 weeks before the baby is born, which is not until the middle of August. The baby is due on 01/11/10. I would really appreciate it if someone could get back to me asap. Many thank!

-----------------------------Miss Emily's advice--------------------

I don't know where you live, and I am unaware of what you are entitled to on, or off the job. But this I do know: You are right that you're probably not someone who is "hire material" being pregnant.  I would find out about maternity leave policy. In the United States, for example, it's mandatory to give family leave, but with no pay. Anything else is dependent on the policy of the place where you work. I know this is tough, but until you find a better alternative to working with your step-dad, I'd try to detach myself from his and your mother's drama in order to save myself. You're pregnant, now, and because you have decided to keep this baby, financial security and a mother who is capable of remaining calm (even in the face of difficult circumstances) is best for your baby --  and that will, ultimately, be good for you.  I would keep my eyes open for any future employment after the baby is born. After maternity leave, you may not have to return to your step-dad's employ if you plan carefully.