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March 14, 2023

Can You Get Maternity Benefit if You're Self-Employed in Ireland?

Self-employed people must meet specific criteria to receive Maternity Benefit in Ireland. Read on to learn more and find answers to four related FAQs.

Aine Kavanagh

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Aine Kavanagh

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Maternity Benefit is a payment women receive from Ireland’s Department of Social Protection (DSP) while on maternity leave from their employment.

This provides them with an income during the final weeks of pregnancy and the weeks after giving birth.

But what’s the deal if you’re self-employed?

Keep reading to find out.

Do Self-Employed People Qualify For Maternity Benefit?

To qualify for Maternity Benefit In Ireland as a self-employed individual:

  • You must have sufficient Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions.

Let’s explore these in detail.

1. Pay the Relevant PRSI Contributions

People who are formally employed or self-employed in Ireland pay PRSI contributions.

To qualify for Maternity Benefit, self-employed individuals must meet the following contribution conditions over a 12-month period:

  • 52 weeks of contributions paid at Class S of the relevant tax year.

  • 52 weeks of contributions paid at Class S in the tax year before the relevant tax year.

  • 52 weeks of contributions paid at Class S in the tax year after the relevant tax year.

If you’re going on maternity leave in 2024, the relevant year is 2022. The tax year before the relevant year is 2021, and the year after the tax year is 2023.

Learn more about the PRSI contributions for Maternity Benefit.

2. Get Certified Maternity Leave

To certify your maternity leave, ask your doctor to fill out a Medical Certificate for Maternity Benefit (MB3 form) and approve the expected due date for the birth of your baby.

Your doctor will not charge you for filling out the MB3 form.

The MB3 form has to be signed and submitted along with your Maternity Benefit application form (MB1).

Your application will be processed when you send in the Maternity Benefit forms. If approved, you should receive your Maternity Benefit payments from the first week of your maternity leave.

Is Maternity Benefit for Self-Employed People Taxable?

Maternity Benefit in Ireland is liable to a 20% Income Tax for employed and self-employed people.

However, Maternity Benefit is not subject to Universal Social Charge (USC) and PRSI.

4 FAQs About Ireland’s Maternity Benefit

1. How Much Is the Maternity Benefit Payment?

Ireland's standard Maternity Benefit weekly rate is €274 — paid for 26 weeks of maternity leave, as provided in the Maternity Protection Act of 1994.

A self-employed person may only qualify for a half-rate Maternity Benefit if they have eligibility for a full-rate Maternity Benefit and receive one of the following social welfare payments:

  • One-Parent Family Payment.

  • Widows and Surviving Civil Partner's Pension (Contributory).

  • Widows and Surviving Civil Partner's Pension (Non-Contributory).

  • A Widow's Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Pension under the Death Benefit Occupational Injuries Scheme.

  • Prisoner's Wife's Allowance.

  • Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance.

2. Can I Receive Extra Maternity Leave?

In addition to the 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, employed and self-employed people can take an extra 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave if necessary.

3. What Happens in the Case of a Premature Birth?

If you have a premature birth before your maternity leave starts, the maternity leave instead begins from the date of birth and carries on for 26 weeks plus an additional period.

This extra period is the time between the baby's actual birth date and the day you had initially planned to take leave before your expected due date.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you planned to take your leave 2 weeks before your expected due date, but your baby arrived 2 weeks earlier than your expected maternity leave date.

Then, you’ll get 26 + 2 weeks of maternity leave from the date of birth.

If you have a miscarriage or a stillbirth, you have an entitlement to 26 weeks of benefit, provided that the child’s birth weight is at least 500 grams and you meet the PSRI requirements.

4. Are There Other Benefits Offered by the Department of Social Protection?

The DSP provides benefits like Child Benefit and Health and Safety Benefit in Ireland.

Expectant and new fathers can also receive paternity leave alongside Paternity Benefit.

However, the number of weeks for paternity leave and the amount for Paternity Benefit vary from maternity leave and Maternity Benefit.

Seamlessly Manage Your Employee Benefits With Kota

Ireland’s Maternity Benefit can help you as a self-employed individual on maternity leave.

But what about your private health insurance needs — for doctor consultations, pregnancy scans, etc.?

You need Kota.

We help freelancers and self-employed individuals set up their core employee benefits in a snap — minus all the faff.

You can:

  • Gain access to trusted financial and insurance providers for insurable employment.

  • Integrate a payroll platform for easy payment of benefits.

  • Automate benefit payments with minimal paperwork for you and your dependents.

Sign up with Kota and take ownership of your employee benefits in Ireland!

Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Kota. Whether you're a Kota customer, a Kota user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

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