Stars from the world of music and film are joining forces with politicians to push for a new law to boost shared parental leave for the self-employed.
Actresses and entertainers including Lisa McGilligan, Ed Harcourt and Fyfe Dangerfield will gather outside Parliament to support Labour MP Tracy Brabin’s proposed legislation to extend shared parental leave to the self-employed.
Brabin, a former actress, has introduced the Shared Parental Pay and Leave (Extension) Bill – also known as the #SelfieLeave Bill.
Under a 2015 change in the law, parents have the right to split their leave between them. But self-employed mothers must take statutory maternity allowance in one go and cannot go back on to it after doing some work. Self-employed fathers have no access to parental leave or pay.
Brabin says the new law could be a major step forward for gender-equality, particularly in the creative industries where 44% are self-employed.
Celebrity supporters of the bill include Chris Martin. The Coldplay star said “So many of our crew, both in the studio and on the road, are freelance, and we don’t want to lose half of that talent when they become parents – we want them to be able to share their parenting in a way that works for them, and isn’t dictated by being a man or a woman.”
Olga FitzRoy, founder of Parental Pay Equality, said: “This is a great opportunity for politicians of all parties to unite behind the bill, which will send a strong message that men and women are valued equally in the home and in the workplace.
“Self-employed mothers, who don’t get any employment protections while on leave, need the flexibility of sharing childcare with a partner to ensure they have a job to go back to, and dads have had enough of being sidelined when it comes to parenting.”