Calls increase for Shared Parental Leave to be extended to self-employed



Campaigners for Shared Parental Leave to be extended to the self employed are lobbying Parliament today in support of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay Extension Bill.

The Bill has been brought by Tracy Brabin – Labour’s Shadow Minister for Early Years and MP for Batley and Spen.

It is supported by IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed.

IPSE’s Policy Development Manager Jordan Marshall said: “Presently, if you are self-employed, you can only access maternity allowance, not full maternity pay or shared parental leave. But with nearly five million people now working for themselves, it’s important the government extends to them the same offering.

“Considering the importance of self-employment to the UK economy – and the growing number of women choosing to work for themselves – it is simply not acceptable that there is still so little support for self-employed parents. The system is too rigid to benefit self-employed people who are looking to support their businesses.

“Instead of having flexible parental leave options, self-employed people have no choice other than to take 39 weeks off with only ten ‘keeping in touch days’ to keep their businesses ticking over. This is extremely damaging because often self-employed people cannot afford to take 39 weeks off without harming the future of their businesses. For many, it is near-impossible to maintain client relations and other key businesses commitments in just ten short days. Instead, many self-employed people cut their leave short and, clearly, this is a problem.”

Marshall added: “Just as the self-employed inject flexibility into the economy, the parental benefits system needs a shot of flexibility too. IPSE is calling on the government to take the first step by extending shared parental leave to this vital and growing sector.”

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