Do freelancers get shared parental leave?

IPSE’s economic policy expert Ryan Barnett discusses shared parental leave (SPL).

SPL allows 37 weeks of paid leave to be shared by mothers and fathers. While this has been available for employees since 2015, freelancers are excluded from the policy.

SPL was introduced for employees in April 2015 in order to give fathers more time to bond with their children and to ease expectations on mothers.

Up to 50 weeks of leave – 37 of which are paid – are available if parents meet eligibility criteria. Parents can take leave in blocks and at different times or can take leave at the same time. Extending this policy to the self-employed would be essentially cost-neutral, as it would equate to sharing an existing allowance between two people.

Last year, Labour MP Tracy Brabin (with support from IPSE) called on the government to extend SPL to the self-employed. She said at the time: “It really feels like the days of introducing employment rights which only apply to those on secure contracts are stuck in the past and really should come to an end.

“We need more women in the creative industries. And one way to make that happen quickly is to help new mothers in establishing families with equal parenting roles.”

To find out more about SPL, visit the IPSE guide here.