Guidance Change to working during Maternity Allowance

image credit: Andrea Piacquadio

In a small but significant victory for the Parental Pay Equality Team, we have managed to get the guidance for KIT days changed so that small admin tasks no longer count towards Keeping In Touch (KIT) days while claiming MA.

While work for self-employed mums is currently still limited to 10 KIT days during the MA period, a small but significant change to the decision-makers guidance has been made to allow “essential admin” during the MA period that do not count towards your KIT days. This has not yet been updated in the main page of government guidance here, where it still says that as little as half-an hours work can count as a KIT day but is instead hidden away in the decision-maker guidance, here.

This means that maintaining a website, corresponding with clients or maintaining equipment and keeping professional qualifications up to date no longer count towards kit days.

“Note: Undertaking minimal maintenance and admin tasks (see Appendix 1 to this Chapter) does not count towards those ten days.”

Minimal Maintenance and Admin Tasks: 

  • Carrying out necessary administration. 
  • Accepting work which is due to start after the woman’s return to work and after her MA ends. 
  • Carrying out essential maintenance to the woman’s website or equipment. Responding to correspondence requesting information as long as it does not relate to work to be carried out before the woman’s return to work and before her MA ends. 
  • Keeping essential formal qualifcations and licenses up-to-date. Keeping skills at an acceptable level. 
  • This should not include formal paid-for training. 
  • Preparing for work arranged before the woman’s MAP starts but to be carried out after her return to work and after her MA ends.

Parental Leave Consultation

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

Consultation on Shared Parental Leave announced

The Business Secretary, Greg Clark today announced a consultation on a number of family-friendly policies, including Shared Parental Leave. This follows years of campaigning from Parental Pay Equality and others, and includes open-ended sections for respondents to have their say on SPL. A government policy consultation is a very significant step, and opens the door to legislative change in these areas going forward. The consultation on Parental Leave closes on November 29th and can be found here.

Parental Pay Equality & UK Music Joint Letter to Business Secretary

25.06.2019: UK Music chief Michael Dugher and Parental Pay Equality founder Olga FitzRoy have called on the Government to include self-employed workers in the music industry in paid parental leave reforms.

They have written a joint letter (attached) to Business Secretary Greg Clark to urge him to do more to help workers in the creative industries who contribute £100 billion to the UK economy.

The move follows reports that the Government is considering extending paid paternity leave to 12 weeks.

In their letter to Mr Clark, Michael and Music Producers Guild Executive Director Olga said:

“The vast majority of creators in the music industry are self-employed. At present, current regulations place the burden of childcare on the mother, damaging her career prospects while preventing fathers from spending time with their new families. 

“With women still under-represented in all sectors of the music industry, the ability to share parental leave could be a game-changer in retaining freelance female talent.

“These urgently needed changes are long overdue. If the Government is serious about supporting businesses and the creative industries which contribute £100 billion to the UK economy, it must introduce reforms that reflect the modern working world.”


Pregnant Then Elected

On Thursday 25 October, we are partnering with Pregnant Then Screwed on our first Pregnant Then Elected event to encourage more mums to kick start a career in politics.
Following Jo Swinson MP being subjected to maternity discrimination by our own government, we want to encourage and support more mums to have a political career. Only 32% of MPs are women and 45% of women MPs have no children, compared to 28% of male MPs and compared to 20% of the overall population. The most senior women in politics, like Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon, do not have children.
We will discuss the specific challenges mothers encounter, why it is important we have more mums in Westminster, how to make your voice heard, how to overcome the various barriers, and we will demystify the process. The event will be non-partisan. We will also talk through the lifecycle of a successful campaign, using Parental Pay Equality as an example.
Tickets for Pregnant Then Elected are free, but if you can afford it there is a suggested donation of £15 to Pregnant then Screwed.
Time: 6pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Landsec offices, 80 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5JS
Accessibility: Venue is fully accessible – for any accessibility queries please email
Children: Children and babies are very welcome to the event, though there aren’t any childcare facilities.
Drinks (alcoholic and non alcoholic) will be available as well as some crisps and nuts.
Speakers will include:
Kemi Badenoch MP (Conservative)
Tracy Brabin MP, Shadow Minister for Early Years, (Labour)
Joeli Brearley, Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed
Baroness Sal Brinton, President of the Liberal Democrats
Rezina Chowdhury, Lambeth Councillor (Labour)
Olga Fitzroy, Founder of Parental Pay Equality
Aceil Haddad, Pregnant Then Screwed
Caroline Nokes MP, Immigration Minister (Conservative)
Frances Scott, Founder of 50:50 Parliament
Tulip Siddiq MP, (Labour)
Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party
Amelia Womak, Deputy Leader of the Green Party
Spoken word artist, Amber Rose, will be reading some of her hard-hitting poetry. Amber is a Brighton-based single mum who is passionate about mental health, motherhood and healing from abusive relationships.

SelfieLeave all over Parliament in April and May

The Shared Parental Leave and Pay Extension Bill, aka Tracy Brabin MP’s #SelfieLeave Bill was mentioned in 3 separate parliamentary debates in Westminster within a fortnight.

On May 1st Kevin Brennan MP asked the Minister in charge of Shared Parental Leave, Andrew Griffiths MP, about extending shared parental leave to the self-employed.

On April 18th Tracy Brabin asked ministers to look into it as a means of closing the gender pay gap during Harriet Harman’s UQ on the gender pay gap.

And on April 17th Kevin Brennan MP urged Culture Minister, Michael Ellis MP to look into it more closely during a Westminster Hall debate on the creative industries


Self-Employed Left Behind on Return to Work

Our survey results are in, and reveal that self-employed returners are disadvantaged when they go back to work after having children, despite most saying they would like to work more. Only 20% of self-employed women are back to their pre-baby earnings by the time their child is 2, compared with 26% amongst employees. (ONS Labourforce Survey)


Data: ONS Labourforce Survey


Data: Parental Pay Equality / Organise

This is despite a huge 62% wanting to work more, compared with only 10% of employed mothers in part-time work wanting to work more. (ONS Labourforce Survey)

Data: Parental Pay Equality / Organise


51% (both men and women) said that being eligible for shared parental leave would make the biggest difference to their family, yet 3 years to the day after this legislation was first introduced for employees, the self-employed remain ineligible. Many respondents also mentioned the lack of flexible affordable childcare as having a negative effect on their business, as the unpredictable nature and jobs at short notice made it difficult to use conventional nurseries and childminders that need to be paid upfront. 59% were not satisfied with how they were able to divide childcare and work as a couple.

This is why the government needs to listen to the thousands of self-employed families being held back by the inflexible systems of Maternity Allowance and limited KIT days, and embrace Shared Parental Leave and Pay for all.

Labour MP Tracy Brabin, who has introduced a bill to Parliament aimed at extending shared parental leave and pay to the self-employed said, “The time for introducing shared parental leave for freelancers is long overdue. It’s clear from this important research that many freelance mums want to work more and that the amount of work they can take can be affected by childcare commitments. The good news for the Government is that I’ve already introduced a bill to make shared parental leave available for freelancers and all they have to do is support it.”

Methodology: 143 People took part in an online survey run by the Organise Platform and Parental Pay Equality. The ONS stats are from the ONS Laborforce Survey .

#SelfieLeave event outside parliament

On Wednesday 21st Feb, MPs, celebrities and membership organisations gathered outside parliament to support Tracy Brabin MP’s 10-minute rule bill to extend shared parental leave and pay to the self-employed. The event was attended by musicians Alt-J, The Big Moon, Fyfe Dangerfield, Kirsty Mangan and Ed Harcourt, Actor and PIPA Ambassador Lisa McGrillis, as well as representatives from UK Music, the MU, Equity, IPSE, PIPA, Women in Film and TV and Raising Films, and a number of cross-party MPs.

Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Extension) Bill announced

The shadow early years minister, Tracy Brabin, today announced  a 10-minute Rule Bill motion to extend Shared Parental Leave and Pay to the self-employed. The bill, which has its first reading on February 21st, has cross-party support, with Conservative MP Ed Vaizey, Liberal Democrat deputy Leader Jo Swinson, as well a Caroline Lucas the SNP’s Alison Thewliss all co-sponsoring. In an interview with Buzzfeed Brabin said “It seems to me that the only way we’re going to close the gender pay gap is to get men more involved in childcare.”

This welcome announcement follows months of campaigning by Parental Pay Equality and supporters, and we will be gathering high-profile campaign-supporters and stakeholers outside parliament to support this bill. You can follow developments on social media using #SelfieLeave. Read the full article here