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The growing number of self employed need more support so they are on more of an equal footing with the employed, according to an independent review commissioned by the Government.
The report by entrepreneur Julie Deane calls for maternity pay for the self employed to be brought up to the same level as for statutory maternity pay – ie that the self employed should get six weeks at 90% of their average salary followed by the statutory rate rather than just the statutory rate.
It says the number of self-employed in the UK currently stands at 4.6m, an all-time high, and is growing, representing 15% of the UK workforce.
The report adds the majority of the self-employed have made a positive choice to be so and have no plans to return to employment. They have found a good balance with work/life commitments and are often happier. Technology has changed the profile of the self employed and where they work.
However, they need more support. The report says: “It is important that with the increased growth in self-employment, and the subsequent benefits that this group brings to the economy, that there are systems in place to support the self-employed in the same way as the employed. Government should consider extending support to the self-employed in areas where there is discrepancy between support for the self-employed and support for employees.”
The report also calls for education to better prepare young people for the role which self employment might play in their future.
The report calls for accessible advice and support in the form of a central portal from which to navigate impartial support and services. It says: “Presently there is much confusion over the duplication on offer which is a significant detractor in recognising the usefulness of what Government bodies offer.”
Other recommendations include: