Many freelancers could be tempted by shared leave arrangements if the policy was extended to them, claims a key freelancing association.
The Association of Independent Professionals and Self-Employed (IPSE) believe many self-employed workers in the UK would welcome the ability to share up to 50 weeks of leave following the birth of a child with their partner.
At the moment, shared leave is only available to employees with 40 weeks of continuous service and is not possible for those who run their own business.
“This invaluable option hasn’t been extended to the people who need it most: the self-employed,” Tom Purvis, IPSE’s economic adviser.
Introduced in 2015, the policy has had a limited uptake with just two per cent of couples opting to take shared leave. However, this could rise if the arrangement was extended to freelancers, contractors and the self-employed.
Mr Purvis believes shared parental leave should be made more widely available and that the government needs to rethink the support given to new parents who have their own businesses. think that shared parental leave is overdue for self-employed people.
He added: “The system is too rigid to benefit self-employed people who are looking to support their businesses. Just as the self-employed inject flexibility into the economy, so the parental benefits system needs a shot of flexibility too.”