Working Family Payment (WFP) is an income-tested, in-work, family payment which provides additional financial support to employees on low earnings with children relative to their family size. WFP is designed to prevent in-work poverty for low paid employees with child dependents and to offer a financial incentive to pursue employment.
In order to qualify for WFP, an applicant or the applicant and their spouse, partner or cohabitant must be engaged in full-time remunerative employment as an employee, for not less than 38 hours per fortnight (or 19 hours per week). The employment must be expected to last for at least 3 months. This primary employment condition must be satisfied on an ongoing basis.
WFP is not payable to a person who is only self employed as self employment does not satisfy the above primary employment condition for receipt of WFP. To be eligible for WFP, an applicant must be an employee. Hours worked in self-employment alone cannot be included to satisfy the employment condition. However, a self-employed person who is also an employee may satisfy the WFP employment condition (based on their status as an employee). As WFP is an income tested scheme, all household income including income from self-employment is assessable and must be disclosed by an applicant (family).
There are a number of supports available to self-employed people including the new Jobseekers Benefit for the Self-Employed which was recently introduced from 1 November 2019. Self-employed persons who are operating businesses at low levels of income can continue to access the means tested Jobseekers Allowance scheme, once they satisfy the conditionality of the scheme.
Parent’s benefit scheme was introduced from 1 November 2019 which provides both parents, including those in self-employment, with 2 weeks paid leave during the first year of their child’s life. This is an additional support to that already available to the self-employed under the maternity and paternity benefit schemes. The addition of these new schemes builds on other significant improvements for self-employed people in recent years such as access to invalidity pension and treatment benefits in 2017.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.