The main aim of the directive is to strenghten the principle of equal treatment between men and women who want to establish or extend a self-employed activity. For the first time, it entitles self-employed women and assisting female spouses of self-employed workers to maternity benefits of at least 14 weeks. It also creates autonomous social protection rights for assisting spouses of self-employed workers if the self-employed workers benefit from a system for social protection. The directive also covers life partners when recognised by national law.
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