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MP Tracy Brabin is introducing a Ten Minute Rule Bill in Parliament today as part of her campaign to get Shared Parental Pay extended to freelancers and the self-employed.
She says: “The exclusion of freelancers is a hole in our legislation that needs repairing and what I’m putting forward is a common sense improvement that doesn’t add any cost to the taxpayer.”
The aim is to allow self-employed mums who are eligible for Maternity Allowance to be shared in chunks between the new mum and her partner.
She says this is important due to the rise in self-employment – there are at least 4.7 million self-employed workers in the UK – and the fact that current maternity pay assumes that mums will take on the majority of caring responsibility for their children.
Writing in Politics Home, she says: “In many families the mum could be the highest earner or at an important stage of her career so why shouldn’t she be enabled to get back to work, when she wants to. This bill’s integral to ending the practice of holding self-employed mums back.”
Adding that it needs to become the norm that parents are able to share their leave, she says a survey conducted by Parental Pay Equality found over 70% of freelancers, or those with freelance partners, would use the scheme if it was available to them in the future.
Currently nine per cent of women and 16% of men aren’t eligible for Shared Parental Pay because they are self-employed.
Brabin states: “I’m offering the government an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to gender equality, closing the pay gap and giving the self-employed a fair deal at work. Let’s hope they take it.”