Self-employed Mums, unfortunately, don’t qualify for Maternity Pay.
Maternity Pay is restricted to Mums who are employed. The payment of Maternity Pay is a contractual obligation of the employer.
So what options do self-employed Mums have for maternity pay?
There are two types of self-employment. The first is where you are self-employed as a Sole Trader or Partner in a Partnership. The second is where you operate your business through a Limited Company.
Sole Traders and Partners
Maternity Allowance could be payable to you if you meet the qualifying criteria. Head over to the HMRC calculator to check.
For this article, let’s assume that you qualify. Maternity Allowance is payable for 39 weeks (so for the same period as Statutory Maternity Pay). The full rate is the same as Statutory Maternity Pay (£151 in 2021).
Note that you may qualify for Maternity Allowance if you are an employee. If you don’t qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, then you could be eligible for Maternity Allowance.
Self-employment via a Limited Company can put you in either the Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance scenario. There are several qualifying factors that you should consider and discuss with your accountant or tax advisor.
Your accountant or tax advisor may also be able to suggest some additional strategies to help you through maternity leave.
Don’t let these limitations distract you from planning the maternity leave you want. With a solid plan you can still have maternity leave.