Parental­leaveishard work­for­self-em­ployed

New mums have it hard but spare a thought for those run­ning a busi­ness as in­ad­e­quate fi­nan­cial pro­tec­tion causes huge strain WEDNESDAY

Daily Record - - WOMAN - MARIA CROCE

TAK­ING time off work af­ter hav­ing a baby is meant to be a joy­ful ex­pe­ri­ence for par­ents to bond with their child.

But for self-em­ployed mums, it can be a par­tic­u­larly stress­ful time with wor­ries over fi­nances.

More than half of new mums who run their own busi­nesses ad­mit suf­fer­ing from men­tal health is­sues due to be­ing forced to work soon af­ter giv­ing birth.

A cam­paign has been launched call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to give self-em­ployed mums the same fi­nan­cial sup­port as em­ployed new mums – in­clud­ing 90 per cent of av­er­age weekly earn­ings for the first six weeks.

A group of NHS medics who founded GPDQ, the doc­tor on de­mand app that en­ables pa­tients to book and see a GP in their home, funded the study af­ter see­ing too many self-em­ployed mums suf­fer­ing in si­lence be­hind closed doors.

Hav­ing a baby has forced more than a third of new mums to give up their busi­nesses and al­most half con­sid­ered ceas­ing trad­ing due to the strug­gles of run­ning a busi­ness and be­com­ing a new mum, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey.

Self-em­ployed new mums were asked what side-ef­fects they had ex­pe­ri­enced be­cause of be­ing forced to work im­me­di­ately af­ter hav­ing a baby – 67 per cent said gen­eral stress.

About 59 per cent said they had an in­abil­ity to re­lax and en­joy their baby and 57 per cent couldn’t sleep due to wor­ry­ing about the busi­ness.

Dr Kristy Lau, one of the GPs be­hind GPDQ, said: “If self-em­ployed mums can get ma­ter­nity pay equal to their em­ployed equiv­a­lents, it’s one way they can get the sup­port they need to en­joy moth­er­hood.”

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