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The number of people doing more than one job is increasing. For some it is the only way to get by. Others find it gives them greater flexibility and more independence if they adopt what is referred to as a “portfolio career”.
Many are so-called ‘five-to-niners’, working in the early evenings on top of their full-time nine-to-five day jobs or at weekends. Some work through the night to earn extra cash. The range of skills being exploited include everything from design, bookkeeping and copywriting to fixing bikes, walking dogs and researching family histories. Most only work a few hours extra a week, but a growing number are doing longer hours often on top of a full-time job.
Financial necessity is not the only reason people take on extra work, however. Many people have set up their own businesses as a sideline to a regular job. This allows them to grow their business while maintaining some form of financial stability. Workingmums.co.uk’s most recent annual survey shows there is a huge appetite for self employment among working mums in particular as they seek more flexible ways of working which mean they have more control over how, when and where they work. The survey shows almost two thirds of working mums have considered setting up their own businesses and 38% have put the wheels in motion. For many, the best way to start will be to combine regular paid work with growing their own business.
Doing more than one job could also spread to regular working practices. Research has suggested that the number of portfolio workers is increasing. Portfolio workers differ from freelancers by having contracts in place with a number of different companies simultaneously, with a guaranteed number of hours of work from all during any given period of time. A KPMG report last year predicted that this form of employment can become the norm in 10 years time, although there are concerns about the client confidentiality and intellectual property implications of employing people who might also be working for their competitors.
For many working more than one job is a financial necessity, but for others it offers the possibility of greater independence since they are not wholly dependent on just one employer while, unlike freelancers, they keep the benefits – pension, holidays and so forth – that employees have.
There may even be a creative overlap between jobs with skills learned at one job being applied in another setting.
But what happens if you do more than one job and you get pregnant? If you qualify for SMP on both jobs you can claim it for each role and start and finish your maternity leave at different times for the different jobs without the SMP for the job you have not gone back to being affected.
If you can’t get SMP you can claim Maternity Allowance. However, you can’t claim both SMP and MA at the same time and you can’t claim two lots of Maternity Allowance.
However, if you get SMP on one job, you can return to the other job if you were doing it before the 26th week of your pregnancy without your SMP from the other job being affected.
You can also do any self employed work during your maternity leave without your SMP being affected.
However, the rules differ on MA. You can only get MA if you don’t qualify for SMP on any other job and MA ends if you do more than 10 days work during maternity leave for any employed or self-employed job.