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Self employed, maternity allowance and returning question

(9 Posts)
pootlepod Thu 18-Jun-09 11:54:18

Just managed to post this without a title. blush

Just need some thoughts from anyone who might know about this situation.

I am self employed with my own business and will be going on maternity leave in July. I am entitled to the full rate of maternity allowance which will be a great help. I was planning to return in November after about 16 weeks. However I have a dilemma as the MA I am entitled to is a lot more than what the business pays me ATM (to do with term time working etc). It would be financially better for me to have the 39 weeks of MA.

The business is in it's early days still hence the very low wage (we're talking far less than a minimum wage for the hours worked, as it is when most people set up). Technically, I can't not work during this period anyway as I will still have to field phonecalls and do admin even though someone else will be doing the 'physical' work. Again as it is with most self employed/business related you never quite break free. But I was wondering if it was possible for me to return in a more physical role after 16 weeks on a voluntary basis, so that the business does not pay me until I reach that 39th week of maternity pay?

Bramshott Thu 18-Jun-09 12:00:02

I made the delightful discovery that you are still entitled to MA for the days in the week you don't work if you go back part time before your full MA period is up. So I went back nominally 2 days a week (and told them which two), although of course working for yourself it's never as simple as that wink and was paid MA for the other 3 days a week - worked out quite a nice amount. Dont' forget that you are also entitled to your 10 'keeping in touch' days which you can work whilst getting MA too.

pootlepod Thu 18-Jun-09 19:35:04

Thanks for the reply, that might be an option (although I'm part time anyway... in theory). I work 2 half days, so would that count as 1 whole day do you think?

ceb80 Thu 25-Jun-09 21:16:20

Bramshott I thought this was the case too but when I rang MA helpline they said it wasn't. Have you a link to where it might state this on a site as have searched in vain to no avail!

AndieB1972 Mon 24-Aug-09 11:00:21

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MrAnchovy Mon 24-Aug-09 11:36:01

No, that's completely the wrong way round. SMP should not be paid (and must be repaid if necessary) for the whole of any week in which you work even one hour as an employee (apart from the 10 keeping in touch days) - see here - MA should in most cases be paid for any day you don't work - see here - although a DWP Decision Maker may decide that you have in fact returned to work (rather than just doing the odd day) and stop your MA. To avoid this, don't work more than 3 days a week - the rules the DM has to follow are here - 62591 et seq.

AndieB1972 Mon 24-Aug-09 21:31:52

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MrAnchovy Tue 25-Aug-09 02:06:45

I think that this is a difficult situation to guess what the DM (and any appeal) would determine.

I have no idea how DWP Decision Makers work, but if I were making a decision based on these rules and the facts as you state them, I would place significant weight on the words 'if a woman returns to work on a regular or permanent basis, even if [part time], the DM may decide that the period of disqualification is for the whole week and the remainder of the MAP' in 62597.

The apparently helpful words of 62601 are in the context of an 'estimate' (although this makes little sense) and I would not place as much weight on this.

This is clearly not in your favour.

I think you need to do a bit of lateral thinking:

Could you work one evening a week for 10 weeks and stay within the 'keeping in touch' allowance?

Could you do some tutoring on a voluntary basis (rather than as a self employed earner)?

er, I'm out of ideas.

AndieB1972 Wed 26-Aug-09 17:30:11

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