A new parental leave policy which aims to increase the diversity of elected councillors has received the support of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Constitution and Ethics Committee.
They will now recommend its adoption to the authority’s full council in November.
The policy would allow six months maternity leave to members giving birth, adopting, fostering for adoption, or becoming surrogate parents, as well as two weeks paternity leave for biological, adoptive or surrogate fathers.
The committee heard that the policy was the result of a recommendation made by the authority’s Independent Remuneration Panel, which highlighted the positive benefits this could bring to attracting a more diverse group of people becoming elected councillors.
Commenting, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Constitution and Ethics Committee, Councillor Sebastian Kindersley said:
“We recognise that members are not employees of the county council, but it is still a significant issue for people who may discount standing for election if they are considering starting a family.”
Committee Vice-Chair, Councillor Alex Bulat added:
“Given the county council’s responsibilities for such a wide range of services that support younger people and families, it is vital that those same people are not prevented from having a voice on the council.”
All councillors taking advantage of this policy would continue to receive their basic councillor’s allowance.
This would also include their Special Responsibility Allowance if they were entitled to it, e.g., if they are a Chair or Vice Chair of a committee or a Group Leader.
During their period of absence, the member’s Group Leader may assign another elected councillor to cover routine division enquiries from residents.