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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Special Cases: Married Women: Background: Position up to 5 April 1975: The law

Under section 1(1) of the National Insurance Act 1946, everybody who was over school-leaving age and under pensionable age (sixty for a woman) and who was resident in Great Britain was insurable.  However, under the National Insurance (Married Women) Regulations 1948, married women were given a special status:


  • A married woman who was an employed person was liable to pay Class 1 contributions unless she elected not to pay (regulation 2(1)).
  • A married woman who was a self-employed person was not liable to pay contributions unless she chose to do so. She could elect to pay at the Class 2 (self-employed) rate and gain entitlement to all benefits available to a self-employed person. Alternatively, she could, subject to certain conditions, pay at the Class 3 (non-employed) rate which gave entitlement to a lesser range of benefits.
  • A married woman who was a non-employed person was not liable to pay contributions unless she chose to do so at the Class 3 (non-employed) rate.

All the above contributions were payable at a flat-rate by means of affixing a stamp to a National Insurance card for each week of liability. In the case of Class 1 contributions, the entire cost of the stamp was met by the employer who then deducted the employee’s share of the cost from her earnings.