If you're self-employed, or your business makes use of self-employed persons, you might be wondering about maternity pay and maternity allowance. Are these options available? The answer is yes. If an individual is self-employed but also has another job, they might be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). However, like every other employee, there are certain criteria that they must meet to get SMP. If they don't meet them, there are other options available, such as maternity allowance (MA).
Am I Entitled to Self-Employed Statutory Maternity Pay?
Self-employed individuals are very unlikely to get SMP unless they're working an extra job. You might be able to claim SMP from your employer, as long as you meet the expected requirement of being under their employ for 26 weeks or more. If you're eligible for SMP, then you can't claim maternity allowance. If you're unable to claim SMP then your best option is seeing if you can claim maternity allowance.
Am I Eligible for Maternity Allowance?
If you're self-employed and you pay Class 2 National Insurance, then you should be eligible to claim maternity allowance. You'll also need to prove self-employment for at least 26 weeks and earn a minimum £30 per week for 13 weeks. The 13 weeks don't need to be consecutive. It's essential that you pay National Insurance for at least 13 weeks of the 26 before your child is due. If you don't, you'll still get maternity allowance, but at a much lower rate of £27 per week, rather than £145.18 per week. You're also eligible for maternity allowance if you recently left a job or you're at work but you don't qualify for SMP. So, if you're self-employed, but recently left your "employed" job, you should check whether or not you qualify for SMP. If not, check to see whether you're eligible for the full amount of maternity allowance for self-employed individuals.
How Do I Apply for Maternity Allowance if I'm Self-employed?
Apply for maternity allowance via the maternity allowance claim form, which is available on the Government's website. You'll need to send this, once you've completed it, to the address on the form. The claim form is over 20 pages long. Filling it out is a daunting task. Don't attempt to complete the form on a lunch break or when you happen to have a spare moment. Carve out a chunk of your day to give the task the attention it requires. Also, don't let the sheer size of the form put you off filling it out. Delaying will only complicate matters if there are any issues with your claim.
Self-employed maternity pay is a complex and time-consuming matter, but the sooner you tackle it, the better. Once maternity pay is out of the way, you can think about looking at other benefits. You could be eligible for the Sure Start Maternity Grant if this is your first child, or your partner receives jobseeker's allowance. The Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment of £500 to help with the costs of a newborn baby. Child Tax Credit is another benefit for assistance with the costs of raising a child. To receive Child Tax Credit, you must meet the criteria. Expert Advice For advice about maternity pay for self-employed individuals, or any other questions about maternity pay, contact one of Croner's experts on 0808 145 3385.
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