In General

The cost of self employment could be set to rise due to EU regulations. The legislation, which was only endorsed last week by the EU government, aims to give more rights to ‘assisting spouses’ of self-employed individuals which includes the rights to benefits such as maternity leave.

This new directive must become law in the UK within the next two years. The ‘assisting spouses’ legislation relates to those who help the business of the self-employed individual and have no earned income of their own. The ‘spouses’ can be married or ‘life partners’. The legislation is designed to counteract the disincentives for female entrepreneurs while also recognising the contribution that is made by partners and spouses.

As this imminent directive was introduced, recruitment firm Lawspeed commented: “ As some agencies use self-employed workers, the big question is who is going to pay for this? The answer is almost certainly not the agencies. In the current economic climate the most likely conclusion is that all self-employed workers will have to pay into the pot to meet this directive’s requirements.”

Adrian Marlowe, Lawspeed Managing Director, stated his belief that the implementation of the directive would require much consultation which would likely lead to amendments.

He concluded: “For the most part, the entitlement to leave, and some compensation for the pregnant self-employed worker, is already provided for in existing social security legislation. It will be interesting to see how the proposal is transposed into UK law in due course.”

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