Under current regulations, men and women on PAYE who are eligible can take up to 52 weeks of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and get statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) for 39 weeks of this. They can share this between them in up to 3 separate blocks of leave each, (or more if the employer agrees).

Currently men and women who are self-employed are not eligible for any ShPP whatsoever.

Women who are self-employed are eligible for Statutory Maternity Allowance (SMA), paid for 39 weeks at the same rate as ShPP. This cannot be split into separate blocks, and if the woman comes off SMA in order to work in her business she cannot go back onto SMA.

There is currently no mechanism by which self-employed fathers (where they are not the sole carer) can claim financial support for looking after their child.

Self-employed mothers are penalised by an inflexible system that automatically looks to place all of the burden of childcare on the mother.

We would like to see ShPP implemented for self-employed parents, as it would allow self-employed men and women more flexibility to successfully run their businesses without claiming any more money from the government than the mothers are currently entitled to.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay/overview