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MPs call to enhance freelancers' maternity money

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A call for greater maternity support for freelancers...

A call for greater maternity support for freelancers has been echoed by a cross-party group of MPs after it made it one of their top recommendations.

The Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group says the government should enhance the first six weeks of the maternity allowance to bring it in line with Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

This enhancement should be part of a wider re-examination of how the self-employed are treated for maternity and paternity-related benefits, said the APPG, in line with calls by IPSE.

Explaining the need for the moves, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) pointed out that the allowance is much less than the SMP.

Typically paid to those who do not qualify for SMP, the allowance is claimable only once the expectant mother has been pregnant for 26 weeks.

In addition, the amount paid out depends on an individual’s eligibility but, on average, it is £138.18 for 39 weeks.

“If you are self-employed, this is likely to be the benefit that you qualify for, meaning that you receive less than someone on SMP,” the APPG noted in a new report.

So, to ensure women are better supported back into work, the group wants ministers to look at upgrading the lesser allowance to become a “form of the SMP.”

It also wants paternity benefit eligibility reviewed too as it is “similarly clear” and could, like the recommend boost to the allowance, actually increase the number of people freelancing.