Some of the New Laws relating to the Self-Employed specifically concern women. Please see our review of some of these benefits:
- Maternity. The maternity benefit is one of the most important allowances (together with adoption and foster care). When a mother is self-employed she is allowed 16 weeks ‘time off’ work, in the same way as an employee. During this period she receives 100% of her last year’s contribution base. Thus, the self-employed woman who contributed the minimum amount for the whole of the previous year will receive about 850 euros per month during the ‘time off’ period. There is an option for the mother, to transfer up 10 weeks of her 16 weeks quota to the father. In order to take advantage of this benefit the self-employed woman must be up to date with her payments to the Social Security office. One of the requirements for those mothers between 21 and 26 years old is that they must have paid the social security quota for at least 90 days in the last seven years, or 180 days throughout their working life. Those mothers over 26 are required to have paid 180 days in the last seven years or 360 days in total. This allowance is not automatic and must be requested within a minimum of 15 days prior to receiving the payment. The law also facilitates part time help. If the self-employed woman reduces her professional activity to 50% she can still receive a 50% of the benefit.
- Flat rate. When self-employed women commence their business activity after ‘maternity leave’, adoption, fostering or guardianship, they can also opt for the flat rate allowance. The well-known flat rate is extended to mothers who resume their business activity in the following two years. Contribution for the minimum base starts with payment of 50 euros monthly during the first 12 months. If the chosen base is higher, the bonus is 80% of the social security quota. The quota increases progressively during the following 12 months, as does the general flat rate.
- Children. When self-employed mothers have children under 12 years of age they have the right to specific assistance. This is a bonus of 100% of their “contingencias comunes” quota. To be able to benefit from this bonus, it is necessary to continue being social security registered during the period of assistance. Also the woman must have employees for the period of the allowance and continue to do so for one year afterwards. Finally, they must hire a replacement worker, full time or part time, during their time off and, for a minimum of three months.
- Change of quota. Self-employed women can change their contribution base in order to have a better benefit during their maternity leave. As the benefit is proportional to that already paid (contributed) in the last six months, it is normal for the self-employed person to change it beforehand so as to obtain a better income once the baby is born.
- Breastfeeding. If the self-employed mother needs to interrupt her professional activity during the natural breastfeeding period, she can receive 100% of her social security base. This benefit is allowed only up until the baby is 9 months old. This temporary interruption is only allowed if an authorized doctor certifies that failure to do so would have a negative impact on the baby.