Local councillors to have paid maternity leave from next year

Cabinet approved a scheme on Tuesday which will entitle councillors the choice to appoint an individual as a temporary substitute while on leave.
Local councillors to have paid maternity leave from next year

Amy Blaney

Local councillors could have access to paid maternity leave for the first time from early next year.

Cabinet approved a scheme on Tuesday which will entitle councillors the choice to appoint an individual as a temporary substitute while on leave.

The lack of proper maternity time away has long been cited as a barrier to women entering politics.

Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke told Newstalk, “If women want to take full maternity leave and step away from their role in the chamber they will be able to put forward a substitute to do their work in the local authority.

“Secondly, if they so wish and choose to keep working in the council chamber with their representative role, they will get administrative support to assist them in their maternity time to give them extra time to care for their infant.”

Proposals for the scheme were informed by an all-female working group established by Minister Burke last year, specifically to explore the provision of maternity leave and supports for county and city councillors.

The group was made up of seven female councillors, nominated by the main political parties as well as an independent councillor.

The draft legislation is now being prepared and will be passed through the Oireachtas over the coming period.

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