March 14, 2023
Can You Get Maternity Benefit if You're Self-Employed in Ireland?
Self-employed people must meet specific criteria to receive Maternity Benefit in Ireland. Read on to learn more and find answers to four related FAQs.
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Maternity Benefit is a payment women receive from Ireland’s Department of Social Protection (DSP) while on maternity leave from their employment.
This provides them with an income during the final weeks of pregnancy and the weeks after giving birth.
But what’s the deal if you’re self-employed?
Keep reading to find out.
To qualify for Maternity Benefit In Ireland as a self-employed individual:
You must have sufficient Pay Related Social Insurance/PRSI contributions.
Your doctor must have certified your maternity leave.
Let’s explore these in detail.
People who are formally employed or self-employed in Ireland pay PRSI contributions.
To qualify for Maternity Benefit, self-employed individuals must meet the following contribution conditions over a 12-month period:
52 weeks of contributions paid at Class S of the relevant tax year.
52 weeks of contributions paid at Class S in the tax year before the relevant tax year.
52 weeks of contributions paid at Class S in the tax year after the relevant tax year.
If you’re going on maternity leave in 2023, the relevant year is 2021. The tax year before the relevant year is 2020, and the year after the tax year is 2022.
To certify your maternity leave, ask your doctor to fill out a Medical Certificate for Maternity Benefit (MB3 form) and approve the expected due date for the birth of your baby.
Your doctor will not charge you for filling out the MB3 form.
The MB3 form has to be signed and submitted along with your Maternity Benefit application form (MB1).
Your application will be processed when you send in the Maternity Benefit forms. If approved, you should receive your Maternity Benefit payments from the first week of your maternity leave.
Maternity Benefit in Ireland is liable to a 20% Income Tax for employed and self-employed people.
However, Maternity Benefit is not subject to Universal Social Charge (USC) and PRSI.
Ireland's standard Maternity Benefit weekly rate is €262 — paid for 26 weeks of maternity leave, as provided in the Maternity Protection Act of 1994.
A self-employed person may only qualify for a half-rate Maternity Benefit if they have eligibility for a full-rate Maternity Benefit and receive one of the following social welfare payments:
One-Parent Family Payment.
Widows and Surviving Civil Partner's Pension (Contributory).
Widows and Surviving Civil Partner's Pension (Non-Contributory).
A Widow's Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Pension under the Death Benefit Occupational Injuries Scheme.
Prisoner's Wife's Allowance.
Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance.
In addition to the 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, employed and self-employed people can take an extra 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave if necessary.
If you have a premature birth before your maternity leave starts, the maternity leave instead begins from the date of birth and carries on for 26 weeks plus an additional period.
This extra period is the time between the baby's actual birth date and the day you had initially planned to take leave before your expected due date.
Here’s an example:
Suppose you planned to take your leave 2 weeks before your expected due date, but your baby arrived 2 weeks earlier than your expected maternity leave date.
Then, you’ll get 26 + 2 weeks of maternity leave from the date of birth.
If you have a miscarriage or a stillbirth, you have an entitlement to 26 weeks of benefit, provided that the child’s birth weight is at least 500 grams and you meet the PSRI requirements.
The DSP provides benefits like Child Benefit and Health and Safety Benefit in Ireland.
Expectant and new fathers can also receive paternity leave alongside Paternity Benefit.
However, the number of weeks for paternity leave and the amount for Paternity Benefit vary from maternity leave and Maternity Benefit.
Ireland’s Maternity Benefit can help you as a self-employed individual on maternity leave.
But what about your private health insurance needs — for doctor consultations, pregnancy scans, etc.?
You need Yonder.
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Sign up with Yonder and take ownership of your employee benefits in Ireland!
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