The research illustrated that self-employed mothers have particular concerns, face unique challenges and need tailored support to meet their needs and help them to make a success out of self-employment.
To enable this, IPSE put forward a set of recommendations on what can be done to help mothers develop their potential in self-employment and live a comfortable and financially rewarding life while working in this way.
Since for many the Maternity Allowance represents a huge drop in earnings, introducing Statutory Maternity Pay for self-employed mothers will give them a better opportunity to bond with their children, while also staying financially afloat.
Extending the SPL to the self-employed could also allow parents to have equal opportunities to care for their children – at the same time as building their own businesses. A scheme like the SPL could be well suited to the flexible working style self-employed people have and extending it to them could also help increase the uptake of the scheme which is as low as two per cent of all eligible couples.
More broadly however, there should be a dedicated review of parental rights and pay for the self-employed. This review could take a fresh approach to how parental policies and pay can be made more flexible to meet the needs of the UK’s five million self-employed, and not simply seek to fit freelancers into the existing system designed for employees.
Chloé Jepps, Head of Research at IPSE, said: “The record rise in self-employment in the last ten years has been largely driven by the rise in the number of highly skilled female freelancers. More and more mothers also choose self-employment as a way to pursue a career that allows them the flexibility to spend time with their family.
“Introducing Statutory Maternity Pay for self-employed mothers and extending Shared Parental Leave to self-employed parents will allow this ever-growing sector of the UK labour force to live a financially rewarding life.”
If you are a freelance parent, listen to Freelance Corner's podcast episode about juggling freelancing with being a parent, or check out this episode on what parental rights freelanccers are entitled to.