There is the pregnant locum doctor who is unable to work due to clinical vulnerability, but who will get a tiny fraction of her usual earnings, as she was on maternity leave with her first child in 2017-18. The musician who has had all her gigs cancelled, just as she was getting back on her feet work-wise after her second child, who will get a third less than her male bandmates. The physiotherapist mum-of-four who will receive next to nothing, but will need to find money for childcare if she’s to even contemplate starting work again. Many working mums we’ve spoken to have faced a double-whammy of discrimination over the years. First they were discriminated against upon becoming pregnant, or on their return to work, or the juggle between extortionate childcare costs and inflexible hours became too much. Many decided to quit the nine-to-five and set up on their own, going freelance out of a mixture of necessity and choice. To then be discriminated against a few years down the line, just when they’ve got their lives and careers back on track, adds insult to injury.
And all this stress and misery, in a stressful and miserable time, could have been avoided had there been a self-employed mum at the table when the SEISS system was designed. Matt Hancock got mocked for his “diversity of thought” comment, but the concept is sound. More diverse decision-makers means fewer omissions of the glaringly obvious.
I have enormous sympathy with those in Government making huge decisions at breakneck speed, but if they’re willing to do the broad brushstrokes quickly, they need to go back and do the edging. This is why last week Pregnant Then Screwed sent a legal letter to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, asking him to change the rules around SEISS so that women who have taken maternity leave can exclude those periods from the final calculation.
Otherwise people like me will simply fall through the cracks. Olga Fitzroy is a freelance sound engineer and volunteer activist with Pregnant Then Screwed.
Read the full story here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/politics/freelance-mums-taking-government-court/
ExcludedUK is a newly formed non-profit NGO and serves as a collective platform for those entirely or largely excluded from the UK Government's Covid-19 financial support measures. We are a rapidly growing organisation and an inclusive community, representing a broad spectrum of individuals and businesses, but all sharing one common thread: we are excluded.As an organisation we will play a crucial role in facilitating support and assistance on multiple levels, both for now and into the future.Our aim is to build a stronger platform, raise awareness, lobby for support, raise funds for legal challenges and help enable the changes that are needed for those excluded.Most importantly, our hope is that our efforts can help propel affected individuals and businesses forward in the face of adversity resulting from Covid-19 and being excluded from Government support, while equally ensuring we are all able to help each other emerge from this crisis.