Maternity and the Self-Employed

A not inconsiderable number of our members (women with chronic illness) have tried to go down the route of self-employment, purely as a consequence of unsympathetic employers, some of whom refuse to make reasonable adjustments for those affected, safe in the knowledge that lack of financial support for those wishing to bring a case of discrimination often can't. However, self-employment is not for the faint-hearted, particularly as it requires a huge amount of investment, not just in monetary terms but also physically and mentally. Many disabled women simply can't manage setting up, and maintaining, their own business.

One of our members, who has gone down the self-employed route points out the following, 'I ended up going self-employed for a number of reasons; one of them was because I got so much hassle if I took any time off ill. Now I’m self employed I can be a bit more flexib
le; I can put in the hours if I am well, and  and allow myself to take time off if I get too ill. BUT and here’s the but...No sick leave OR maternity leave for me. Between December 2016 and April 2018 I will have had 3 lots of major gynaecological surgery and I know I go back to work far too soon. But I can’t afford not to go back. 

'I went down the route of trying to claim PIP but my application was turned down. 

'I would like to have a baby but the allowance for self-employed people would not allow this. Six weeks of very low income, no matter how much I earn or how much tax I pay as a self-employed person will allow me to claim more'.


Why the contribution is important

Those in self-employment, often forced to go down that route as a result of discriminatory practices, find their life choices affected in other ways. These women want to work; they are trying their best to contribute to the economy, and they should be entitled to the same benefits as being employed externally provides, including both sickness and maternity leave / pay that enables them to continue to pay their bills.

Welsh Government is keen for the disabled to be supported into self-employment but they fail to recognise that not all disabilities are the same or can be accommodated equally. Currently, disabled women are at a disadvantage if they attempt self-employment because they can no longer afford to take time off for sickness or maternity. This needs urgent re-evaluation.

by FTWW on April 09, 2018 at 11:49AM

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