Following the launch of the Government’s “share the joy” campaign to encourage more new parents to take shared parental leave, Tracy Brabin, the MP for Batley and Spen, has introduced the Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Extension) Bill.

The aim of the Bill is to extend shared parental leave rights to workers and self-employed contractors including those working in the gig economy by allowing them to share maternity allowance (currently available to self-employed mothers instead of statutory maternity pay) in the same way as employed parents share shared parental leave.

In her motion for leave to bring in the Bill Tracy Brabin MP stated that “we need parity between the traditionally employed and the self- employed” and that “Such a move would send a strong message to the country not only that we understand the changing face of work, but that men and women are valued equally in the home and the workplace.” She also believes that extending the shared parental leave rights “would help to close the gender pay gap.”

In her speech she highlighted the case of Andrew Griffiths, the minister who is responsible for the “share the joy” campaign, who is, by the very fact he is a Minister and not an employee, not eligible for shared parental leave.

If the Bill does become law it would be seen as an extension to the rights of those working in the gig economy which are currently in the spotlight by virtue of the Taylor Report and the run of cases dealing with employment status.