Key findings – self-employment
Self-employment can offer single parents a lifeline when there are few employers offering part-time and/or flexible work. However, it may no longer be feasible for some due to changes under Universal Credit.
Apart from general concerns, such as accounting for fluctuating earnings when Universal Credit is based on monthly assessments, there are specific issues facing single parents. These include:
- Not being eligible for support with childcare costs during periods of sickness
- Not receiving a warning of the Minimum Income Floor (the assumed level of earnings based on the national minimum wage) for some single parents with young children
- Lack of clarity of how any loss of earnings due to childcare responsibilities or other temporary breaks (eg for sickness) is taken into account when applying the Minimum Income Floor
- Difficulties in reaching the Minimum Income Floor within the required 12 months, particularly given the chaotic delivery of childcare support under Univeral Credit
- Difficulties in reaching the Minimum Income Floor at all – particularly in professions with tight margins where single parents are often employed, such as childminding.
We would like to see more flexibility in Minimum Income Floor rules, longer start-up and assessment periods and better support for self-employed claimants.