It’s time to end discrimination against self-employed parents

Campaigners and MPs have been working to push the government to ensure rights for both parents if they are self-employed. Self-employed parents are afforded much less support in the first year of their child’s life than their employed counterparts, which may explain why self-employed women take only an average of 23 weeks maternity leave, according to a report by mortgage broker John Charcol.

While self-employed Mothers receive barely any allowance, Fathers get no help whatsoever. Employed new parents are able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them during the first year of a child’s life. Yet self-employed fathers do not qualify for Statutory Parental Leave or Shared Parental Pay.

Freelance concert pianist and mother-of-two, Clare Hammond, calculated that after having two daughters her family missed out on around £5,700 of maternity pay that they could have claimed had she stayed at home during the first year of their children’s lives, rather than her freelance computer programmer husband.

Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat MP who was Employment Relations Minister when Shared Parental Leave was introduced in 2015, will this month put forward a Private Members Bill to address some of Shared Parental Leave’s failings, including extending it to self-employed families.

A spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said it is currently evaluating the Shared Parental Leave and Pay Scheme and expect to report the findings later this year.

Barristers threaten trial walkouts as pay row erupts

95% of prosecutors said they were willing to walk out of court next month in protest of their low pay. More than 2,040 barristers who carry out prosecution work in England and Wales responded – virtually all of those working on piece rates for the CPS.

Chris Henley QC, the chair of the CBA, said: “The criminal bar has spoken with one voice. The current relationship with the CPS is broken – 95% are prepared to walk out or refuse to take cases if the DPP [director of public prosecutions] refuses to fix it. There has been no investment for 20 years. Nothing. It is unsustainable to carry on like this.

The CPS and CBA met earlier this month to discuss pay without any outcome. A CPS spokesperson said: “We understand that the self-employed bar do have an important role in the criminal justice system and are working with them to make sure we have simple, fair, affordable and sustainable prosecution fee schemes for the future.

One week to go until the self-employed tax deadline!

Daily fines face the 731,000 self-employed workers who missed the January 31st tax deadline. With just one week left to rectify this, individuals who miss the April 30th cut-off will be fined £10 a day for up to 90 days, with an added £100 late filing charge. After this period fines will increase. Don’t waste your hard earned money on something as easily avoided as a late charge, and get your account set up here.

EU introduces new minimum rights for ‘gig economy’ workers

New rights for gig workers such as Uber drivers and Deliveroo riders include payment for last minute cancellations and will have to be paid for training.

“Exclusivity clauses” that ban workers from taking other jobs will also be banned, and probation periods will be restricted to one, with a maximum of six months.

Employers will also have to give workers a description of their duties “from day one”, a formal starting date and pay information, and an indication of what the standard working day will be.

Member states, which have already approved the plan at the European Council, will have to enforce the rules in their own domestic laws within three years.

The UK could end up following EU rules at this point if the Brexit transition period is extended, meaning the rights could apply to workers in the UK. However, if the UK leaves the EU earlier, employees will not benefit from the rules.

AI and big data are adding sunlight to help the gig economy tree grow

Digital Marketplaces are a common way freelancers find clients. However, as the gig-economy rises in popularity, the competition for jobs becomes higher.

In order to match the right person for the right job, Machine learning (ML)-powered algorithms will look at client’s demands and provide optimal matches with freelancers, saving time and energy on both sides.

In addition, AI-driven recruiting has also been found to help discrimination against individuals when it comes to race, age or gender.

The payment experience for gig-economy workers can also be improved with the help of AI, with predictive algorithms mitigating fraud risks.

Creating environments that nurture creativity is vital to building a strong business

Employers have recently realised they need creativity if they are able to continue taking market dominance.  It’s also one of the top three skills that the workforce of 2020 will need if they’re to survive and thrive, according to the World Economic Forum (problem solving and critical thinking come first and second).

So, how can enterprises who can’t afford creative departments ensure a steady stream of brilliant ideas? Start with the office, says Mike Petricevic, the co-founder of Waste, a media agency. “Multipurpose environments are best,” he explains. “An open-plan layout is good for fostering collaboration and sharing ideas, but also have quiet rooms for people to write and develop their thoughts.”

The Arts Professional manifesto for mental health

Arts Professional have published a brilliant manifesto for organisations to take action to improve mental health in the workplace;

  1. Every organisation should have mental health first aiders to support their employees and others who work with the organisation.
  2. Every organisation should commit to talking positively about mental health and removing the stigma.
  3. Workplaces should be vigilant for the warning signs of mental ill-health and offer support to those displaying them.
  4. Workplaces should develop strategies to minimise the risk factors for mental ill-health.
  5. Workplaces should provide support and guidance for those experiencing mental ill-health.