29 Oct

Maternity pay for self-employed mums

While there are a whole host of benefits to being self-employed - including the freedom to work where and when you want - when pregnant, this independence can be a little daunting. But don’t worry - Mazuma are here to help ease that burden and simplify the process. 

Let's start by answering the most crucial question. Yes, if you're self-employed in the UK, you are entitled to paid maternity leave for a maximum of 39 weeks (as long as you fulfil the criteria). We have put together this guide to explain what you are entitled to as a self-employed mum and exactly how much maternity leave pay you can expect. 

Self-employed maternity leave

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is the mandatory payment for those in employment. Being self-employed, you unfortunately won’t have this security. We know, it sounds scary!  

So what maternity rights do self-employed mums have? The answer: Maternity Allowance! Maternity Allowance is the statutory maternity benefit specifically set up to assist pregnant freelancers.

Are you eligible for paid maternity leave when self-employed?

We recommend that the best place to start is by heading over to the government's maternity allowance eligibility calculator - it’s a super useful tool! You'll need to remember that the Test Period is the basis for your eligibility assessment - 66 weeks prior to your baby's due date.

 To be eligible for the full Maternity Allowance, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Self-employed for at least 26 weeks.
  • Paid Class 2 National Insurance for a minimum of 13 of the 66 weeks in your Test Period.
  • Earned a minimum of £30 p/w during the 13 weeks.
  • You mustn't be claiming Statutory Maternity Pay from an employer.

Are you late on NI Payments?

If you've fallen behind with your National Insurance payments, you’ll still be entitled to Maternity Allowance. Simply contact HMRC and arrange to pay an additional contribution to NI. This’ll bring you up to date, ensuring you meet the above criteria. 

Check out this blog post to find out more about NI payments for the self-employed.

Are you ready to apply for self-employed Maternity Allowance?

The process is simple - just as we like it here at Mazuma. Head on over to the government website, complete the MA1 claim form, and send in your application. The form also contains useful notes in case you get stuck along the way. 

As soon as you know your maternity leave rights, you can apply for Maternity Allowance and get it sorted as early as 26 weeks. It’s worth noting that the Department of Works and Pensions takes around five weeks to respond. 

What information do you need for the Maternity Allowance application? 

Although there isn't a whole lot of information required, to avoid a stressful rush we’d suggest dedicating some time to gather all the documents you need. Or, speak to an accountancy firm to help you get everything together! 

The supporting documentation required is as follows: 

  • Completed MA1 claim form.
  • Letter of due date confirmation issued by doctor/midwife OR MATB1 certificate.
  • Proof of income (payslips, bank statements etc.).
  • If your partner is also self-employed, they may be required to share business information.

How much is the Maternity Allowance for the self-employed in the UK?

  • Full Maternity Allowance payment - £140.98 per week (tax-free) or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less). You'll receive these payments for a maximum of 39 weeks. 
  • Reduced rate Maternity Allowance payment - Haven't paid enough Class 2 National Insurance to claim the full allowance? You may still be eligible for the reduced rate of £27 a week (tax-free) for up to 39 weeks.
  • When will my maternity payments start? The Maternity Allowance Period will begin on the Sunday of the 11th week before your due date. However, you can specify a different start date if you'd like to continue working a little longer. 

Final pointers for soon to be self-employed mums:

  • You can work for 10 days during your Maternity Allowance period.
  • You’ll need to inform Jobcentre Plus about any work you do.
  • Don't forget to cancel your Maternity Allowance if you work for more than 10 days or decide to go back to full-time work.

Contact Mazuma

If you haven't done so already, with a baby on the way, there couldn't be a better time to relieve the pressure of accounts. By working with us at Mazuma, you’ll free up your time and headspace to focus on building your business. What's more? We don't cost an arm and a leg. We provide competitively priced services tailored to your unique requirements. Get in touch today

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