Following pressure from Parental Pay Equality and other campaigners, the government finally announced a consultation on Parental Leave which closes on the 29th of November. The consultation covers all aspects of maternity, paternity and parental leave, but we’ve put together some guidance for key points, to make sure our demand for #SelfieLeave gets heard.

Fill in the consultation form using the guidance for key questions below. Do try and expand on answers using your own experience where appropriate.

Guidance for Parental Leave Consultation.

Section 1: Paternity leave and pay

Question 3: How should the costs of providing Paternity Leave and Pay be apportioned between Government, employers and parents?Comments:


  • The government should cover the cost of paternity and maternity pay to an extent that it is financially viable for both mothers and fathers to take a time off work 
  • We recommend a minimun 12 weeks paternity with a 6 week portion paid at 90% to be taken at any time in the first 18 months and split into blocks
  • Paternity leave and pay should be a day one right for all workers including the self-employed.
  • Give examples of how well-paid, longer paternity leave either did help, or would have helped your family

Section 2 – Shared Parental Leave and Pay

Question 10: What aspects of the current Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme are most successful, and which are most in need of reform? Please give reasons for your answer.


  • The part most in need of reform is eligibility for self-employed. 
  • Research by Parental Pay Equality and Parents in Performing Arts shows that over 70% would take SPL
  • Self-employed mothers have no employment protections, so it is likely they will need to do some work during the MA period to maintain their business, and self-employed fathers currently get no paid leave at all.
  • Give examples of why SPL would have helped your (self-employed) family

Question 11: Should there be a dedicated pot of leave and pay for each parent within the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme?

Yes   No   Not sure

Comments: While we absolutely support a dedicated paternity leave for all fathers, within SPL we believe flexibility is most important. Creating restrictions on how much paid leave either partner can take in the SPL scheme is likely to have unintended consequences that make the situation worse for some families. 

Question 12: Should mothers continue to be the ‘gatekeeper’ for the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme?

Yes   No   Not sure

Comments: Yes, because allowing fathers to make decisions on curtailing the mothers leave and pay could be open to abuse, particularly in situations of domestic violence and coercion.

Section 5: Towards a comprehensive suite of parental leave policies

Question 23: Do you think the Government should consider a more radical change – potentially moving to a single ‘family’ set of leave entitlements, or seek to reform the existing entitlements?

Move to single family set of leave entitlements

Seek to reform the existing entitlements           

[No box ticked as it would depend on what any reforms looked like]


  • Any new system must include the self-employed, and we are concerned about DWP’s ability to deliver any system of parental pay, given that delays to Maternity Allowance  are currently running at 14 weeks plus.
  • Any reforms must ensure that there need to be ringfenced periods of leave and pay for mothers that are not less than what they currently have, in order to protect mothers recovery from birth and breastfeeding, and to stop her from being co-erced into giving up leave before she is ready. 
  • We welcome ringfenced periods of leave and pay for fathers, so long as mothers entitlements are not reduced

Question 26: If you consider that the Government should prioritise reform of parental leave and pay policies, which policies are most important and why?


  • Shared parental leave self-employed and all workers
  • Paid adoption leave for the self-employed
  • Paternity leave for self-employed and all workers