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19/02/20 16:11

Fairer family leave for councillors

Removing barriers to parents and young people seeking elected office.

New rules to ensure councillors are treated equally will allow a wider range of people to stand for office.

The Scottish Government, working alongside COSLA, has amended regulations on councillors’ pay to increase the flexibility local authorities have when granting paid leave, which has made it harder for some people to take on senior elected roles in the past.

The changes will make it easier for councillors to take family leave, particularly women, new fathers or parents adopting a child.

Previously councils lacked flexibility in offering enhanced payments to those covering senior councillors, such as council leaders and civic heads, while they were on family leave.

Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“Anyone should be able to be a councillor. By making it easier for councillors to get paid leave of absence, we hope to encourage a wider range of people to seek election, including more women and younger people so that councils can better reflect the society we live in.”

COSLA President councillor Alison Evison said: 

“We welcome these amendments to legislation which will give greater flexibility to councils to pay any Councillor requiring leave appropriately.

“The role of being a councillor and having the privilege of representing your community should be open to all, but previously the legislation has meant that those requiring maternity, paternity, adoption or any other leave whilst in office may have been financially disadvantaged. Some people may have been unable to stand for election in the first place as a result and others may have had to stand down from office.

“We hope that this enables more individuals to consider standing for or staying in local government.”