01/10/2019: Ministers came under renewed pressure to act as speakers lined up to demand change at our #SelfieLeave event at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.
The speakers on our panel were Olga FitzRoy (Coldplay & Doctor Who sound engineer), Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe (House Of Lords) and Simon McVicker (Director of Policy, IPSE).
The event - titled “We Can Work It Out: #SelfieLeave & the campaign to help self-employed freelancers” – was chaired by UK Music CEO Michael Dugher and focused on the challenges facing self-employed parents in the music industry.
UK Music wants the Government to update shared parental leave and pay rules to include self-employed parents in the creative industries and across the UK workforce.
Olga Fitzroy outlined the challenges facing freelance parents in the music industry. She said: “As a self-employed person, taking nine months out of your business can pretty much be the end of your business. The system needs to change. It isn’t working as it is.”
Simon McVicker said: “We completely support this campaign and all the good work you are doing around it.” He described the disparity in the treatment of employees and self-employed parents when it came to parental leave and pay as a “gross injustice” which had to be corrected.
He added: “It’s time to turn this round. Government must right the injustice in our labour market.”
Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe said it was vital to spread good culture and employment practice among companies. The former minister raised questions about the potential cost of the proposed changes - but Olga Fitzroy pointed out the plans were cost neutral.
Among the audience was Conservative MP and DCMS Select Committee member Giles Watling, an actor for 50 years, asked if estimates had been made of the loss to the industry both commercially and artistically when self-employed parents were forced to turn down work due to childcare commitments.
Following a suggestion that groups representing the self-employed should join forces on the issue of parental leave, Michael Dugher announced that UK Music would be delighted to host a meeting at UK Music’s London HQ.