Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2021 11:03 pm Post subject: No parental leave ‘a barrier’ to local politics
No parental leave ‘a barrier’ to local politics
Three quarters of local authorities in England do not have formal policies for paternal or maternal care for councillors, new data suggests.
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The Fawcett Society, which carried out the research, said it contributed to a lack of women pursuing careers in local government.
Separate research shows about a third of elected councillors are women.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said it would work with councils to encourage anyone to stand for election.
The number of councils in England with policies for councillors has risen since 2019, when a previous investigation found 7% had them.
As office holders and not employees, there is currently no legal right to parental leave for councillors. However, some - such as Nottingham which passed a motion in July - have introduced it to support younger elected members.
Legislation was also passed earlier in the year which allowed government ministers six months of paid maternity leave.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, the Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for gender equality in politics, asked England's 335 local authorities whether they had any formal or informal maternity or paternity leave policies for councillors.
The charity received responses from 303 councils.
Just over a quarter, 79, said they did have a formal policy, while the remaining 224 said they did not.
However, of those that did not have a formal policy, 85 also said they had informal arrangements such as supporting councillors on a "case-by-case basis".
The East Midlands had the lowest proportion of councils with a formal policy, with three out of the 35 that responded (9%), while London had the highest, with 20 out of 31 authorities (65%).
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