Statutory Maternity Pay – Maternity rights to self-employed and wives of self-employedWednesday, June 30th, 2010
On 7 June 2010, member States of the European Union (EU) agreed to update the maternity leave directive to give standard maternity leave rights to self-employed women and the spouses or life partners of self-employed men. It is common for self-employed workers in farming and small firms and for professional workers to be helped in their jobs by their spouses or partners. The new requirement is for any pregnant self-employed woman or self-employed worker’s spouse to be given “sufficient maternity allowance to cover interruptions at their work” of at least 14 weeks’ maternity leave, i.e. the minimum paid period laid down for normal employees by the EU maternity leave directive.
It will be up to Member States to decide whether the leave is mandatory or voluntary, and whether this social protection can also be “proportional to the participation in the activities of the self-employed worker”.
Following adoption of the legislation by the Council of Ministers on 24 June 2010, Member States have two years to implement the changes relating to self-employed workers, and up to four years, where justified by particular difficulties in finding the way to grant standard social protection to spouses and partners of the self-employed.
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