Do You Get Maternity Pay If Self-Employed in the UK?

As a self-employed individual, it’s important to understand your rights and entitlements when it comes to maternity pay. This article will provide an overview of the maternity pay basics, eligibility criteria, notifying HMRC, calculating maternity allowance, FAQs, legal rights and protections.

Maternity Pay Basics

Maternity pay is a form of financial support provided to pregnant women who are unable to work due to pregnancy or childbirth. There are two types of maternity pay available in the UK: Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) for employees and Maternity Allowance for self-employed individuals.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) for employees

SMP is a form of financial support provided by employers to their employees who are pregnant or have recently given birth. The employer calculates the amount of SMP based on the employee’s average weekly earnings and pays it for up to 39 weeks.

Maternity Allowance for self-employed individuals

If you’re self-employed in the UK, you’re entitled to Maternity Allowance (MA) for 39 weeks. The amount you receive depends on your national insurance contributions in the 66 weeks before your expected week of childbirth. The full rate of self-employed maternity pay is paid for 39 weeks at £27 to £172.48 a week. However, the amount depend on your Class 2 National Insurance contributions you’ve made in the 66 weeks before your baby is due.

Key differences between SMP and Maternity Allowance

The key differences between SMP and Maternity Allowance are:

  • Employers pay SMP to their employees, while the government pays Maternity Allowance to self-employed individuals.
  • The employer calculates the amount of SMP based on the employee’s average weekly earnings, while the amount of Maternity Allowance depends on your national insurance contributions in the 66 weeks before your expected week of childbirth.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for Maternity Allowance, you must meet certain requirements. These include:

  • Being registered as self-employed for at least 26 weeks.
  • Earning at least £30 per week in at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due date.
  • Meeting certain National Insurance contribution requirements.

Factors that impact eligibility include:

  • Recent employment history.
  • Recent periods of unemployment.
  • Recent periods of sickness or injury.

Notifying HMRC

If you’re self-employed and pregnant, it’s important to inform HMRC about your pregnancy as soon as possible. You can do this by registering as self-employed.  You may need to make an early contribution towards National Insurance to HMRC. HMRC will then send a letter to you if you’re entitled to.

Calculating Maternity Allowance

The amount of Maternity Allowance you receive depends on your national insurance contributions in the 66 weeks before your expected week of childbirth. You’ll receive either:

  • £172.48 per week or 90% of your average gross weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the remaining 33 weeks.

To qualify for Maternity Allowance, you must also pass a ‘13-week test’. This means that you must have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby’s due date.

You can use the calculator from HMRC for your reference.

Legal Rights and Protections

It’s important to understand your legal rights and protections as a self-employed worker in relation to maternity pay. In the UK, certain legal protections are available to pregnant women who are employees, such as:

  • Protection against unfair treatment or dismissal.
  • The right to take time off for antenatal care.
  • The right to return to work after maternity leave.

However, self-employed individuals are not entitled to these legal protections. It’s important to be aware of these differences and to seek legal advice if necessary.

Maternity Pay FAQs

What is the difference between SMP and Maternity Allowance?

The main difference between SMP and Maternity Allowance is that SMP is paid by employers to their employees, while Maternity Allowance is paid by the government to self-employed individuals.

Can I receive Maternity Allowance if I’m a sole trader?

Yes, if you’re a sole trader and meet the eligibility criteria .

What if I have multiple sources of income as a self-employed individual?

Your total income will be taken into account when calculating for maternity pay if self employed in the UK.

How does maternity pay affect National Insurance contributions?

Maternity pay counts as earnings for National Insurance purposes.

Can I work Self Employed while on maternity leave?

Sure thing! If you’re on maternity leave and getting Statutory Maternity Pay, you can still do self-employed work without it messing up your benefits. But, make sure to look at your work agreement to see if it lets you do that or not.

Just a heads up, working for your boss as a ‘self-employed’ person might not really count as true self-employment. Be cautious about that.

Keep in mind that rules can be a bit different for each person. So, before you decide anything important, talk to an expert. This article is just a starting point. If you want to know more or need help with your money and taxes, set up a chat with us. We have lots of ways to help you handle your cash and make sure you’re good with taxes. Check out our website to find out more!

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