Female freelancers hoping for better maternity pay
There have been a number of news stories about the swelling ranks of the self employed work force, with commentators disagreeing over the reasons for so many people choosing to go it alone and work for themselves. Some of the statistics surrounding the increase have shown significant trends which are far from coincidental, such as the marked increase in the number of women who are choosing independence over traditional employment.
One of the motivating factors for many freelancers, and women in particular, is the flexibility that self employment offers, but for those women who choose to work for themselves to allow them to strike a good work-life balance, there are some downsides. Maternity pay is one of them, and is one of the areas where female freelancers, and their families, really get a raw deal compared to their employed counterparts. Although the majority of employees are entitled to maternity pay which is proportionate to their income, independent professionals are only able to claim Maternity Allowance which is a set rate completely independent of the amount you might actually earn.
The Association for Independent Professionals and the Self Employed have been trying to rectify this position by bringing it to the attention of those in power and lobbying political parties to try and get them to take an interest in making the system fairer. Their manifesto included a call for a review of maternity pay which would allow mothers to receive 90 per cent of their pay for the first six weeks of their maternity leave in the same way that employed mothers do.
There have been some encouraging moves from some of the main parties, with the Conservatives releasing their small business manifesto which stated their intention to review some of the disadvantages faced by freelancers who are trying to compete in the workplace. This document included references to pensions, mortgages and maternity pay which could all be improve as far as IPSE are concerned, so this update was welcomed as a sign that there was some serious consideration of the needs of freelancers.
Alongside the promises to toughen up the rules surrounding late payment, plans to ensure that high speed broadband is made more widely accessible and ensuring that small businesses in rural areas are able to access the same kinds of facilities as their urban equivalents could all go a long way to improving the lot of entrepreneurs around the country. Contractors, freelancers and small business owners are all eagerly awaiting the general election results to see how the next government will change their lives, hopefully for the better.
If you want to know more about what you could expect if you decide to switch from employment to contracting, then our guide to life as a contractor could answer some of the bigger questions you might have. We also have plenty of resources to help you make the important decisions about how to set up your business, such as helping you to understand the advantages and disadvantages of working through a limited company.
For advice on everything from starting up to planning your future, our friendly team of accountants are on hand to help you navigate your way through your finances. We can save you time and money for a monthly fixed fee, so call us today on 01442 275789 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.