Is your freelance career holding you back from starting a family because you can’t afford the time off?

On average, self-employed mothers only take 23 weeks maternity leave.

Although they won’t reap the same benefits as women under employment, freelance mothers could receive a weekly sum of £145.18 (£148.68 as of April 2019) for 39 weeks, in maternity leave pay.

Some can even end up claiming over £5,660, if they can’t work for a period of time after giving birth.

In order to make your claim for maternity allowance, complete an MA1 claim form and pop it in the post.

Dished out in fortnightly or monthly instalments, this maternity allowance has been put in place because freelance mums do not qualify to receive the traditional statutory maternity pay that women in employment are entitled to.

Mothers who are in full-time employment get a statutory maternity pay of 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of their maternity leave, followed by £145.18 a week for 33 weeks.

When you take in to account that £25,000 is the average salary for women in the UK, self-employed women receive around £2,000 less. Yet, it should be noted that freelancers pay less national insurance.

But, according to research by Mortgage Broker John Charcol, more than 36% of self-employed women didn’t file a claim for their last pregnancy.

Charcol revealed that from 1st January 2013 to 1st December 2017, 127,400 maternity allowance claims were successfully filed and granted by freelance mums, which came to a total of £508.6 million (averaging at £3,992 per claim).

Claims can be made after you reach 26 weeks into your pregnancy, and you can start receiving your maternity allowance 11 weeks before your due to give birth.

To be eligible, you have to have been self-employed for a minimum of 26 weeks and have earned a minimum of £30 a week for at least 13 weeks (doesn’t have to be consecutive).

In order to claim the full pay, you must have paid Class 2 National Insurance contributions for a minimum of 13/66 weeks before your child is due to be born. Otherwise, you’ll only receive £27 a week for 39 weeks.

Track cyclist Jess Varnish has lost her case against British Cycling and UK Sport

She will be unable to sue her former employers for wrongful dismissal or sexual discrimination.

This comes in the wake of the 2012 Olympics, where GB’s success in cycling came at an apparent cost.

This is the first case in the gig economy sector involving high level athletics, and it may surprise some people that Varnish lost when considering the successes plaintiffs against Uber and Pimlico Plumbers have had in recent years.

However, British cycling were able to convince the tribunal that they were not her employer, but rather “a service provider supporting talented and dedicated athletes to achieve their best”.

Varnish has not made her plans to pursue this case further clear.

People are continuing to take the ‘Free’ in ‘Freelancing’ literally

Businesses are trying to get away with not paying their invoices to freelancers, by offering them exposure instead of cash.

On average, each of the UK’s two million freelancers loses £5,400 a year through unpaid work, as well as 20 days spent chasing up on late invoices.

With the freelance community contributing £125 billion a year to the UK economy, restricting this section of our workforce will only end up making us all worser off.

Something had to be done about not paying people for their hard work, and that is why the organisation Freelancer Club was created.

Their #NoFreeWork campaign, allows those who’ve not been paid their due a platform – to call out those who they’ve been discriminated against by.

Freelancer Club work alongside key industry and political leaders in order to make calls for policy changes, and change the future of freelance.

Are you part of the ‘side hustle’ generation?

A suit by day and drag by night.

James Tobin, a 28-year-old works as an estate agent most days, but gets dressed up as a drag queen in his out-of-office hours.

1 in 4 workers runs at least one, if not more, side hustle businesses.

It’s becoming increasingly popular to be employed as well as self-employed, with people opting to go solopreneur in their spare time – chasing their passions and making money doing it.

IPSE has unveiled the number of people in the UK who are self-employed has increased to 4.85 million

IPSE’s Deputy Director of Policy, Andy Chamberlain, remarked that these figures are a “testament to the determination of these individuals to strike out on their own and work for themselves”.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS)  found that are 81,000 more people than there were last year, who are self-employed in the UK.

Chamberlain warns that Parliament should take note of the rise of freelancers and make room for them in their policies: “The government must listen to what the self-employed are telling them. Policies such as universal credit and IR35 risk forcing them out of business against their will”

A survey shows 60% of freelancers feel their business will be negatively affected if Theresa May’s ‘deal’ goes ahead.

660 freelancers voted against the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, in a survey run by IPSE in December, which was still deemed a better outcome than a ‘no deal’, which 64% voted would also take a hit to their business.

What troubles these freelancers is the single market for services and goods.

The Director of Policy at IPSE, Andy Chamberlain, shed light on the results, explaining that:

“They fear large companies, who are important clients for them, may relocate their operations because of Brexit

“Freelancers may also find it harder to access contracts in the EU,” with reference to the 30% of surveyees who had contracts based in non-UK, EU nations.

Could there ever really be no such thing as a ‘workplace’?

With advancements in workplace technology enabling companies to stay connected with their offices all over the world, it seems that the need for office based headquarters is going to be no longer.

Technology has made it possible for businesses to stay connected to its partners, colleagues and clients, because everything can be easily reached by just the click of a button.

Technology is improving rapidly, and the next 10 years look to have big changes in store.

Chris Costello, the Director of Technology Hub Sync, believes that there will one day be no such thing as a ‘workplace’, with the visual overtaking the physical (I can’t help but picture a sims-game-like set up).

No more packing in like sardines on the tube, and paying commuters fare, in order to meet at office buildings here there and everywhere, only to email each other rather than discuss work verbally because ‘it’s just easier’. Costello might be onto something here.

Will apps start taking business away from accountants?

Iona Bain writes in the Financial Times about the steady movement by accounting apps, such as Coconut and Albert, to take over from the old school way of paying £50-£200 per month for an accountant.

Several applications are moving quickly into the freelance market to try and help freelancers move away from the outdated way of filing taxes; a notebook, a shoebox full of receipts, and relative who may or may not work as an accountant to help you.

In summary, the space for accounting apps in the market is crowded. But, many of these apps are perfect for time-poor freelance workers, looking to become tax compliant without paying a large portion of their wages.

For new freelancers looking to streamline their business, it is worth considering as an option.

Nearly a third of self-employed Brits are leaving filing their tax return until the 48 hours preceding the deadline

HMRC revealed that they were still waiting on a shocking 5.5 million pounds worth of returns to be filed at the beginning of January.

We really hope you’ve been listening to our warnings these past few weeks, but, if you haven’t, here’s our gift guide to you at this stressful time: how to file your tax return.

You don’t want to be a part of the 29% who will leave it until the penultimate or final day of the deadline.

Or, even worse, receive a fine for not leaving yourself enough time to reach the deadline.

We know you’re smarter and better than that, and we want you to receive every penny owed to you.

To put things in to perspective, 840,000 people missed the tax deadline in 2017, which put a staggering £84 million straight into the taxman’s pocket. Appalled? You should be.

You’ve still got 9 days (including today) to go, until the 31st January, so get going!