Campaigners in Budget call on Chancellor to help self-employed parents after Commons setback

The #SelfieLeave Bill did not proceed beyond its Second Reading today

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26/10/18: Stars from the worlds of music and entertainment have pledged to continue their battle to extend parental leave to self-employed parents after a setback at Westminster today.

Supporters of the Bill joined Olga FitzRoy and Tracy Brabin MP outside Parliament for a photocall on Friday

Parental Pay Equality founder Olga FitzRoy said she was “deeply disappointed” that the “Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Extension)” Bill, also known as the #SelfieLeave Bill, did not proceed beyond its Second Reading at the House of Commons today (Friday Oct 26).

She called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to use his Budget on Monday (Oct 29) to take urgent action to help self-employed parents by supporting proposals contained in the Bill to extend the right to shared parental leave to self-employed workers.

The demand came after leading music industry figures, campaigners and politicians lobbied Parliament today and urged MPs to back the proposed change that would be a lifeline to thousands of self-employed parents.

Under the present rules, self-employed parents are ineligible for shared parental leave. But supporters, including Coldplay’s Chris Martin and singer Laura Marling, are backing the campaign.

It would be a major step forward for gender-equality, particularly in the creative industries where many people are self-employed.

Speaking after today’s rally, Olga FitzRoy said: “It is deeply disappointing that we did not get the support we needed from the government for SelfieLeave Bill today.  This is a major blow to self-employed parents in the creative industries and many other fields, and makes no sense given the government's recent £3 million advertising campaign for Shared Parental Leave for employees.

“We plan to fight and I would urge the Chancellor to intervene and use his Budget on Monday to push forward this cost-neutral policy that would do so much to help self-employed parents.”

Tracy Brabin MP said: “This delay is disappointing but simply a bump in the road. With so many campaigners determined to see Shared Parental Leave extended to include freelancers and the self-employed it’ll inevitably become law soon.

“I implore Ministers to look seriously at this bill and sit down with campaigners, trade unions and politicians to implement this important change in the law.”

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said: “It is indefensible that self-employed parents in the music industry and elsewhere are being denied what is essentially now a basic workplace right.

“UK Music will continue to support the campaign to help partners get the right to split their parental leave.  We’re proud to support the brilliant work that Tracy Brabin MP and Olga FitzRoy from the Music Producers Guild are doing in this vital area. It’s time that Government threw their weight behind this Bill and gave this draft legislation the time and support it needs to become law.”

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