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New study shows only one in five self-employed women return to pre-baby earnings by the time their child is two

A new study by campaign group Parental Pay Equality and employment rights specialists Organise has revealed only 20% of self-employed women are back to their pre-baby earnings by the time their child is two-years-old.

The shocking figure compares to 26% of the workforce as a whole who are back on their pre-baby earnings by the time their child marks his or her second birthday. This is despite a huge 62% wanting to work more, compared with only 10% of employed mothers in part-time work wanting to work more.

51% (both men and women) said that being eligible for shared parental leave would make the biggest difference to their family, yet 3 years after this legislation was first introduced for employees, the self-employed remain ineligible.

Olga FItzRoy, a self-employed music-producer and founder of Parental Pay Equality, said: “This research shows that self-employed parents want to continue to work and grow their businesses after they have a family, but it is the outdated, sexist system that expects women to do all the childcare that is holding them back. The governement could make a big difference to these families by simply making the Maternity Allowance shareable between men and women, at no extra cost to the taxpayer.”

“My business has suffered because my partner does not take any responsibility for

childcare. Current legislation has allowed him to continue believing that childcare is

not his problem.”

Self¬ employed female with self¬ employed partner, working in television

 “For us it is a vicious cycle of the mother turning down work to do childcare then not getting offered more work so the father has to keep taking work and therefore isn’t available to do childcare so the mother has to keep turning down work to do childcare etc.”

Self-employed female with self-employed partner

Labour MP Tracy Brabin, who has introduced a bill to Parliament aimed at extending shared parental leave and pay to the self-employed said: “The time for introducing shared parental leave for freelancers is long overdue. It’s clear from this important research that many freelance mums want to work more and that the amount of work they can take can be affected by childcare commitments. The good news for the Government is that I’ve already introduced a bill to make shared parental leave available for freelancers and all they have to do is support it.”


Background Information


Numbers for the general population are based on the ONS Labourfource report 2017

The Parental Pay Equality / Organise survey questioned 143 men and women in families where at least one partner was self-employed. Survey data and case studies with contact details can be found here:

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was brought in by the coalition government on the 5th April 2015, however self-employed parents were not included in the new legislation. Self-employed mothers can claim Maternity Allowance, paid at the same rate as SPL, but they cannot split this leave into periods of work and pay, or share it with a partner, and self-employed men get no paid parental leave whatsoever.

Shared Parental Leave and Pay Extension Bill aka #SelfieLeave Bill was introduced by Labour MP Tracy Brabin on 21st Feb 2018, and has cross-party support, as well some big names from from the creative industries, many of whom are self-employed.

Parental Pay Equality was set up in April 2017 by music producer Olga FitzRoy, with the backing of the MPG and UK Music. They have submitted a report to the government’s Taylor Review, and successfully campaigned to get the policy change into the Labour Party manifesto. Over 5000 supporters have signed their petition, and their open letter to the PM was signed by Chris Martin, Tim Burton, and over 30 cross-party MPs.

About Music Producers Guild (UK):

The Music Producers Guild (UK) is an independent and democratic organisation that encourages the highest standards of music production, and actively engages with other music industry organisations to campaign and lobby on matters of important mutual interest. The MPG represents and promotes the interests of all those involved in the production of recorded music, including producers, engineers, mixers, re-mixers, programmers and mastering engineers.