On Friday October 26, stars from music, entertainment will gather outside parliament to support the second reading of the “Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Extension)” bill, also known as the #SelfieLeave Bill which will extend the right to shared parental leave to self-employed people, who are ineligible under current rules.
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was brought in by the coalition government in 2015, however self-employed parents were not included in the new legislation. Self-employed mothers can claim Maternity Allowance, paid at the same rate as SPL, but they cannot split this leave into periods of work and pay, or share it with a partner, and self-employed men get no paid parental leave whatsoever. Fifteen per cent of the workforce (4.8 million) are self-employed in the UK.
The new law would be a major step forward for gender-equality, particularly in the creative industries where many are self-employed. Celebrity-supporters of the bill include Coldplay’s Chris Martin who commented, “This bill would finally give self-employed artists and technicians an opportunity to share parenting in a way that makes sense for them and their families.”
Parental Pay Equality’s founder, Olga FitzRoy said “We hope the government will use this opportunity to take this simple step for self-employed families. Politicians of all sides have supported the bill this far – we now need the government to commit to it.”
Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen said, “With this Bill I’ve handed the Government a perfect opportunity to show they’re really in touch with the modern world of work and that they’re on the side of families. There is still time for them to adopt this common sense, cost-neutral proposal which allows self-employed parents to take maternity and paternity leave in a way that suits their family.
This provision is already available for families in more conventional employment, we’re simply calling on the Government rectify this situation where we have one set of rules for conventionally employment people and a separate set for everyone else.”