Home » National Post View: Extending parental leave to the self-employed an idea that was doomed from the start

National Post View: Extending parental leave to the self-employed an idea that was doomed from the start

by Marjorie

the entire level of self-employment was to have the ability to proceed working whereas elevating a household.

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Within the 2008 election, the Conservatives made what appeared like a smart election pledge: extending parental depart to the self-employed, on a voluntary, opt-in foundation. For the household pleasant Tories, the promise smelled like an enormous vote getter: amongst Canada’s 2.6 million self-employed, Statistics Canada reported that one third are ladies. Introducing enabling laws in 2009, then Human Assets Minister Diane Finley proclaimed that self-employed Canadians “shouldn’t have to decide on between their household and their enterprise tasks” and referred to as the transfer “some of the vital enhancements to the EI program within the final decade.”

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Sadly, it turned out to be one of many greatest failures. At first, the federal government estimated between 300,000 and 500,000 self-employed individuals would join; by 2014, annual projections have been lowered to 55,000 claims. In truth, from 2011 to the tip of March 2014, solely 14,394 self-employed employees opted in, making a complete of two,316 claims for $21.1 million in advantages. But departmental figures present the federal government has spent a whopping $39.6 million on forms to manage this system — which means that taxpayers shelled out twice as a lot to run it as they acquired again in return.

The entire level of self-employment was to have the ability to proceed working whereas elevating a household.

This monumental lack of uptake will come as no shock to anybody who has been self-employed. If you find yourself the enterprise, it merely isn’t possible to step away and take EI, even for parenthood. When child comes, higher to discover a technique to hold issues operating, even when meaning working round nap schedules. In truth, the EI extension has possible been undone by the rise of the very group it was supposed to assist: self-employed moms, or “mompreneurs.”

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For this group, the perks of being their very own boss — better flexibility and the flexibility to do business from home — beat EI when it comes to work-life steadiness, significantly once they have very younger kids. In keeping with a 2014 examine of 404 feminine small-business homeowners carried out by the Sage analysis group and the Mompreneur web site, 57 per cent mentioned they began their very own enterprise exactly as a result of they wished “to lift my kids — be household targeted.” Forty-nine per cent of those ladies had infants, toddlers or preschoolers, and 50 per cent had elementary faculty age kids. Seventy-three per cent labored primarily from house, whereas 69 per cent have been the only real worker of their enterprise.

In different phrases, the entire level of self-employment was to have the ability to proceed working whereas elevating a household. But these ladies have been the exact same folks whom the Tories focused with the extension of parental depart to the self-employed. This system was thus doomed from the beginning, as a consequence of a failure to grasp the self-employed’s personal motivations. It’s time the Tories admitted they goofed, and shut it down.

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