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What maternity / paternity rights might I have?

Maternity and paternity for self-employed people

Unfortunately self-employed people are not entitled to statutory maternity or paternity pay as these would require your income to be paid via PAYE, and you would have needed to work for company for at least 26 weeks at the 15 th week before the baby is due.

However, there is an alternative – maternity allowance is a benefit for people who are not eligible for statutory maternity pay. In order to qualify you must meet the following criteria during the 66 weeks before the baby’s due date:

  • you must have been self-employed for a minimum of 26 weeks
  • your earnings must be £30 a week or more, for at least 13 weeks (the weeks don’t have to be consecutive)

You could receive:

  • £151.20 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for 39 weeks
  • £27 a week for 39 weeks

To get the full amount of Maternity Allowance (£151.20), you must have paid Class 2 National Insurance for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will check if you’ve paid enough when you make your claim and will write to you if you have not.

If you haven’t paid enough Class 2 National Insurance for the full allowance, don’t worry – you might still be eligible for the reduced rate Maternity Allowance of £27 a week for up to 39 weeks. Maternity Allowance payments should start 11 weeks before your baby is due.

To claim your maternity allowance, you will need to apply to the Department for Work and Pensions, which you can do here:

There is currently no equivalent paternity allowance.

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