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Maternity allowance for the self-employed

Self-employed and pregnant? This is what you need to know to access your Maternity Allowance…


Scenario 1: I am employed in addition to my self-employment… 

If you already qualify for SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay), you will not also qualify for MA (Maternity Allowance).

If you are employed and earn a salary through PAYE; and meet all the SMP criteria – you will get SMP instead of MA.

The dates to qualify for SMP can be quite confusing. As a rough guide, it works as follows:

  • you must have started employment before your pregnancy started (per menstrual cycle, not conception date)
  • you must be in the same employment by week 26 of your pregnancy
  • your salary must be at least £116/week on average during weeks 19 to 26 of your pregnancy.

Tip #1: Employment for a week counts even if you only work a couple of hours of in the week!

The dates above are only to be used as a rough guide. HMRC has a great online tool to check if you are entitled to SMP and how much you will get:


Scenario 2: I only have self-employment, will I qualify for MA instead?

To get the standard amount of MA (2018-19 £145.18 a week), you must have been self-employed for at least 26 weeks out of the 66 weeks before your expected week of birth. The 26 weeks do not have to be in a row.

You must have paid Class 2 National Insurance for at least 13 of these 26 weeks. The 13 weeks do not have to be in a row.

Tip #2: You could qualify for the standard amount of MA even if you set up a business after you find out that you are pregnant!


How to claim the standard amount of MA?

The standard amount of MA is £145.18 per week (2018-19) for 39 weeks.

If you are self-employed, for any week covered by Class 2 NI contributions you will be treated as having enough earnings to result in the standard rate of MA.

Jobcentre Plus will ask HM Revenue & Customs to confirm the information you give about your Class 2 NI contributions on your MA1 claim form.

Tip #3: You do not pay income tax or NI contributions on Maternity Allowance.


I am sure that you may have loads of questions about SMP and MA. Get in touch with us now:

*This information is correct at time of posting but may change with changes in HMRC legislation*

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