WE shouldn’t let coronavirus take our eye off other policies of the moment, one such being a strange move for a Conservative Government which will strip self-employed women of maternity rights.
Tens of thousands of self-employed women will be hit by tax legislation coming into effect next month.
Currently, most professional freelances operate using their own limited companies, working for various clients on a project by project basis. After expenses and paying themselves a modest salary, they make profits which are subject to corporation tax, and in some cases they withdraw money from the company as dividends, which is subject to income tax.
Similar to sole traders, they pay national insurance contributions, which entitles them to claim statutory maternity pay when they take time off to have a baby.
However, under the new rules, their clients are able to classify them as ‘deemed employees’ and make national insurance deductions and income tax at source. But, in this instance, no employment rights at all are conferred on the worker.
Ironically, this draconian ‘zero rights employment’ status is being introduced by the Treasury and HMRC under the guise of making the system fairer.
Classifying pregnant women as ‘deemed employees’ and at the same time stripping them of their rights to maternity pay seems perverse and grossly unfair, not least for a Conservative Government which should want to encourage women to work from home. It seems clumsy to say the least.
Is the entire policy flawed and should it be cancelled? Discuss!