Belfast Telegraph

Music business urges equal parental leave rights for self-employed

The music industry is calling for parental leave rights to be extended to freelance and self-employed workers.

UK Music, which represents the industry, said recording studio producers and engineers are among those missing out because of their employment status.

The creative industries feel hard hit by the exclusion as more than two in five of those working in the sector are self-employed, it said.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of UK Music, said: "People who work in this crucial economic sector should be treated fairly and equally. The music business has thousands of freelancers whose careers may be suffering because these rules do not apply across the board and the Government must act."

Recording engineer Olga FitzRoy, with the backing of the Music Producers Guild, has launched a campaign to push for a change in the law.

She said: "The current system of maternity allowance forces self-employed women into being the sole carer for their child, as they cannot take shared parental leave or pay, and must take the maternity allowance in one block or face losing the benefit.

"Self-employed fathers are also penalised, as they do not qualify for any parental pay whatsoever.

"A system of shared parental pay for the self-employed would allow men and women to balance careers and family more equally, in line with the rights already afforded to employees."