Daily Record - - WOMAN -

For in­for­ma­tion on the pe­ti­tion go to: http://bit. ly/Pe­ti­tion­mum FREELANCE sound en­gi­neer Olga Fitzroy has been cam­paign­ing for bet­ter rights for self­em­ployed par­ents and be­lieves rules should be changed to make them el­i­gi­ble for shared parental leave. Olga, 35, is from St An­drews and now lives in Lon­don with her hus­band Si­mon, 46, an en­gi­neer in a record­ing stu­dio, and their son Lu­cas, two. She went back to work at seven months due to the in­equal­ity over parental leave. She said: “If you’re freelance you qual­ify for ma­ter­nity al­lowance which is paid at the same rate as shared parental pay or statu­tory ma­ter­nity pay but you don’t get the 90 per cent for the first six weeks.

“Self-em­ployed peo­ple don’t qual­ify for shared parental pay which came in in 2015 for em­ploy­ees.”

It means a self-em­ployed mum can’t share parental leave with her part­ner.

She said: “The fact you can’t stop and start and do bits of work while you’re off is hit­ting self-em­ployed women hard­est.”

Olga car­ried out re­search through the Parental Pay Equal­ity or­gan­i­sa­tion and found more than half of self­em­ployed mums felt not hav­ing the shared parental leave had a neg­a­tive im­pact on their busi­nesses.

She said: “We would have liked to have been able to stop and start work equally be­tween us. That would have made it less stress­ful.

“There’s the im­pres­sion you’re self-em­ployed so you shouldn’t ex­pect any­thing from the state. But there is ma­ter­nity al­lowance. There is no rea­son why it can’t be shared be­tween par­ents.”

STRUG­GLE Olga had hoped for longer with son Lu­cas. above. In­set, the sound en­gi­neer wins an award

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