Can You Have A Side Business While On Maternity Leave?

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I help women find freedom by building a business or starting a new side hustle. Becoming an entrepreneur is an exciting venture for anyone who wants to experience being their own boss, freedom, and flexibility!

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As you settle into the routine of taking care of your newborn, you’ll find some extra time on your hands. Sadly, some mums don’t even get paid during maternity leave and have to use up savings, retirement funds, or take on credit card debt. While caring for a newborn is physically and mentally demanding, with access to a laptop, WiFi, and a small storage space in your house, you can start a side business right away. 

Can I start a side business on maternity leave in the US? 

Yes, side businesses on a maternity leave are permissible in the US but there’s a catch. The rules vary depending on whether it’s under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a state-specific leave, or a leave policy provided by your employer.

If it is unpaid leave, you can start any side hustle as long as you show the earnings in your yearly tax returns. You don’t need an HST number until you’ve generated $30,000 in revenue. If it is a paid leave through your employer, you will have to look up for specific details in the contract. 

What about tax regulations in Canada? 

Since maternity leave in Canada is paid by the government and lasts for up to a year, there are some specific tax regulations. Any money you make in the first 15 to 17 weeks of your leave is deducted dollar for dollar. You have more flexibility after 35 weeks of leave. You’re allowed to make up to $50 each week or 25% of your weekly benefits (whichever is more) without penalties. Earn more, and your benefits reduce dollar for dollar.

For example, under the default rule, if your weekly parental leave benefit is $500 and you earn $300 from a side job, you’d subtract $175 ($300 – $125, which is 25% of your benefit) from your $500 benefit. That week, you’d end up with $625 in total ($300 from work plus $325 in benefits). 

Remember, you need to calculate your earnings weekly and report them if you’re working while on parental leave. For detailed guidelines and to understand how these rules apply to your situation, visit the Service Canada website.

6 side business ideas for you during maternity leave: 

Keeping flexibility in mind, here are 6 side businesses you can get started with right away: 

1. Freelance Writing 

With a flexible schedule and the convenience of working from anywhere, freelance writing is the easiest side hustle for new moms. While easy to start, you must already possess a knack for storytelling, blogging, or have a keen eye for grammatical details. YouTube, Google, and HubSpot Academy provide valuable insights into how to become a good writer. 

2. Virtual Assistance

As a virtual assistant, you can offer administrative services to businesses or entrepreneurs right from your home. Tasks might include managing emails, scheduling appointments, or social media management. It is a low pressure side hustle that requires you to have excellent organization and communication skills.

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3. Online Tutoring

Signing up on platforms like VIPKid or allows you to connect with students in need of lessons, with the schedule largely under your control. 

4. Making Crafts 

Whether it’s knitting, jewelry making, or creating custom artwork, platforms like Etsy provide a marketplace to sell your handmade goods. Work within a niche, so it is easy to sell and there’s less competition. 

5. Dropshipping

Find a good product that’s in demand and affordable when ordered in big quantities. Create the storefront, market the products, and handle customer service, while a third party handles the stock and shipping. It requires some upfront learning and marketing savvy but can be managed around your baby’s schedule. 

6. Reusable Moving Box Rentals 

With the growing trend towards sustainability, starting a rental moving boxes service can become a long-term successful business. Your side hustle’s USP is sturdy reusable boxes that can be used for several years and replace traditional one-time use cardboard boxes. You can manage bookings and schedules online, coordinating drop-off and pick-up times that work around your new family routine. This side hustle not only taps into the moving industry but also appeals to environmentally conscious consumers, so you are also creating an impact while making extra money.

Carrie’s Courses offers a 14-week side hustle course focused solely on starting a reusable moving box rental business. Book a Clarity Call with Carrie to learn more about our course!