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Parental rights to be introduced for councillors

Lib Dem Jane Lock

Elected Somerset County Councillors could soon be allowed parental leave.

At the moment, unlike staff, councillors who become parents get no support.

The council will now at different options.

The leader of the opposition Lib Dem Jane Lock says the council needs to modernise - she had a baby 27 years ago and needed to feed her child in a medical room next to the toilets after her husband brought him in.

Click play to hear Cllr Lock speaking to reporter Andrew Kay

A report by The Fawcett Society found:

  • Just 4% of local councils in England currently have a formal Parental Leave policy in place for elected representatives.
  • It identified that one third of female councillors of child-bearing age found a lack of maternity leave to be a barrier to fulfilling their role.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 council leaders are women.
  • From 1997 to 2017 female councillor representation only rose by from 27 per cent to 32 per cent whilst the female proportion of the House of Commons rose14 percentage points to 32 per cent.

The draft police suggests:

  • Under Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 Members are required to attend at least one meeting of the authority in any six-month period. This requirement still applies to Members on Parental Leave.
  • Members shall be entitled to take 2 weeks Paternity Leave if they are the biological father or nominated carer of their partner/spouse following the birth of their child(ren). During this period Members will continue to receive their basic allowance and any special responsibility allowances without deduction.
  • Members are entitled to up to 52 weeks Maternity/Adoption leave. The requirements for notification of the intention to take leave and the date on which the leave will commence will reflect the Council’s policy for paid employees.
  • Members on Parental Leave will continue to receive their basic allowance without deduction for a period of between 39 and 52 weeks dependent on the recommendation of an Independent Renumeration Pane

For more details click here

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