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Maternity Allowance

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 26 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans she has to ensure that self-employed mothers are eligible for the same maternity allowance as employed mothers. [16358]

We aim to help women balance their careers and family responsibilities. Both employed and self-employed women are eligible for Maternity Allowance for up to 18 weeks if they have worked and paid 26 class 1 and/or class 2 National Insurance contributions in the 66 weeks before the week the baby is due. The self-employed, however, receive Maternity Allowance at a lower weekly rate.We will consider any changes to the current maternity arrangements in the context of our modernisation and streamlining of benefit provision.