Boosting social protection of the self-employed and assisting spouses

Pressmeddelande   •   Apr 01, 2009 14:55 CEST

The EP Women's Rights Committee wants to make it compulsory for assisting spouses to have social security cover. MEPs are also keen to strengthen the maternity leave rights of self-employed women and assisting spouses. The EP has called repeatedly on the European Commission for a revision of the existing EU directive, to improve the social security cover of assisting spouses and strengthen the maternity rights of self-employed women and assisting spouses,says the reportby Astrid Lulling (EPP-ED, LU) adopted at first reading under the co-decision procedure by 23 votes to 0 with 2 abstentions.

Social security of assisting spouses: compulsory cover

The draft directive defines "assisting spouses" as the spouses or life partners of self-employed workers, when recognised by national law, not being employees or business partners, where they habitually participate in the activities of the self-employed worker. They are often found in farming, commerce, SMEs and the liberal professions.

The Commission is proposing that social security cover should be voluntary but the EP committee argues that Member States should ensure that assisting spouses become members in their own right of the same social insurance schemes as self-employed workers, covering sickness, invalidity and old age.

The contributions paid by assisting spouses should, say MEPs, be tax-deductible as operating expenditure, like the spouse's remuneration, if the services have been correctly provided and the remuneration is appropriate.

Maternity leave in adapted form

MEPs sayMember Statesshould ensure that female self-employed workers and assisting spouses are entitled to a period of maternity leave adapted to their needs.

The maternity leave should be of the duration of their choice provided that the total length does not exceed that specified in Directive 92/85/EEC on pregnant workers. This directive is currently being revised and the Women's Rights Committee will vote on it on 16 April.

Procedure: Co-decision - first reading -- Committee vote: 23 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions -- Plenary vote: May 31/03/2009 Chair : Anna Záborská (EPP-ED, SK) REF. : 20090330IPR52910


Nora Chaal
Press service