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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Special Cases: Married Women: Background: Position up to 5 April 1975: Administrative procedures

A woman who married was required to notify the DSS of her date of marriage and changeof surname. When a local office received such notification a leaflet NI 1 “MarriedWomen” was sent to the woman. The leaflet explained that a married woman could choosewhether or not to pay contributions; it also contained form CF9 on which she could makeher choice.

Invariably the woman brought her marriage certificate to the local office and beforemaking a choice the officer attending to her was required to explain the effect ofchoosing whether or not to pay. In making her choice the woman declared that she hadeither read leaflet NI 1 or had it explained to her.

Records Branch was the part of the DSS responsible for the maintenance of NationalInsurance records. When the local office received a form CF9 indicating that the woman didnot wish to pay contributions a notification was completed by one officer and crosschecked by another before despatch to Records Branch. The form CF9 was kept in the localoffice for a period of 6 years and then, in line with DSS policy, destroyed.

When the notification was received in Records Branch the clerk recorded the election onthe permanent record (RF1). The entry on the record was abbreviated as, for example,“MW1/NP” – Married Woman in Class 1employment who had chosen Not to Pay.

During the period from 5.7.48. to 5.4.75. an employed married woman who had chosen not topay National Insurance contributions still paid a small contribution of a few pence a weekwhich was due under the Industrial Injuries Act. These covered the woman for injuries atwork but not for any other benefits.

It was necessary for a special stamped card to be issued to enable payment of theindustrial injuries rate (commonly known as exempt rate) stamps to be paid. Such stampcards were quite distinctive from normal National Insurance cards and gave the employerthe authority to deduct contributions from the employee’s earnings at the exemptrate.

There was no advantage to be gained by the employer where a married woman chose not to payas the employer’s share of the contribution remained at the same rate as for a normalClass 1 stamp.

If an election not to pay contributions was made part way through a year an adhesive labelwas affixed to the normal stamp card by the DSS. This gave the employer the authority tocease deducting Class 1 contributions and to begin deducting exempt rate contributions.When the card expired at the end of the contribution year, it was surrendered to the localoffice where an exempt rate card was issued in exchange.

The special exempt rate card acted as a certificate of election and without such authoritythe employer was legally bound to deduct Class 1 contributions. Local DSS Inspectorscarried out regular checks of employers to make sure that such procedures were strictlyfollowed.

Where exempt rate contributions had been deducted without the proper authority it waspossible that any arrears, i.e. both the employer’s and the employee’s share,had to be paid by the employer. It was therefore in the employer’s interest to ensurethat the correct rate of stamp was affixed to each National Insurance card.