MP takes up freelancers’ rights fight

SUPPORT: Batley MP Tracy Brabin with protesters outside Parliament ahead of the bill's proposal.
SUPPORT: Batley MP Tracy Brabin with protesters outside Parliament ahead of the bill's proposal.

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin has given fresh hope the self-employed and freelancers after proposing her first 10 minute rule bill, which would allow equal access to shared parental leave and pay.

The transformative bill, which has cross-party support and is backed by industry, unions, campaign groups and celebrities including Chris Martin from Coldplay, would mean that freelancers and the self-employed are no longer unfairly excluded from shared parental leave legislation.

Shared parental leave was introduced in 2015 and it allows parents to share leave and maternity pay following the birth of their child. But freelancers and the self-employed, who number 4.7m in Britain, are frozen out of the scheme.

The new bill aims to redress this inequality.

Under the bill, freelancers and the self-employed would gain access to shared parental leave and pay without any extra cost to the taxpayer.

This would mean that the almost 14% of people who are self-employed in Yorkshire and Humberside would have the same rights as those in more conventional employment.

Ms Brabin in a 10 minute speech in Parliament, which was well received on both sides of the house, said: “My bill would allow freelance partners to decide who receives the allowance so a mum can take a block when she’s ready, or wants to re-enter the workplace, while the family still receives the regular income from the Maternity Allowance.

“A simple of way of replicating shared parental leave for freelancers at no extra cost to the taxpayer.

“A move which I think will send a strong message to the country that not only do we understand the changing face of work, but we believe that men and women are valued equally in the home and the work place.”