I MISSED OUT ON TIME WITH MY SON BECAUSE SYSTEM IS UNFAIR
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