A charity representing self-employed mothers have lost their legal challenge against the government for indirect sexual discrimination over the amount of financial support received during Covid-19.
Pregnant Then Screwed’s legal challenge stemmed from discrepancies received through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), in the wake of Covid-19. SEISS, along with the furlough scheme, based support grants for self-employed people based on average profits made between 2016-2019. Therefore, anyone who had taken maternity leave during that time would have naturally incurred a loss in earnings, which negatively impacted their calculations for SEISS grants.
An estimated 75,000 women who took maternity leave over the last few years missed out on a significant amount of money that they would have earned, especially in relation to male and childless counterparts in the same profession.
However, Mrs Justice Whipple claimed that the Treasury had “good reason for adopting an approach that was simple and which used one rule, one approach, applicable to all”. As well as this, it was stated that adopting different measures to account for separate circumstances would have involved new expense and would have led to delays in rolling out the scheme at a time when people needed assistance urgently.
Speaking in support of the ruling, a Treasury spokesperson said that the package for self-employed people is “one of the most generous in the world”, with over £280bn invested to protect jobs and businesses during the pandemic.
Pregnant Then Screwed are naturally opposed to the ruling, calling the judgement “fundamentally flawed” and containing “serious legal errors”.
A spokesperson for the group said that they were concerned for vulnerable new mothers who are receiving far less than their male and childless counterparts in the face of an incredibly difficult time. They have said the group are considering its options for appeal.
If you have any concerns regarding your income or employment at the moment, be it related to the pandemic or not, our expert team of employment solicitors are only a call or message away from helping you make sense of your legal situation.