William Eichler 04 October 2019

New family leave guidance for Scottish councils published

New guidance on family leave for councillors in Scotland recommends that councillors on leave be allowed to continue receiving their basic allowances.

The guidance, agreed yesterday by members of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), aims to boost diversity within the local government sector.

Councillors in Scotland currently have no legal right to family leave of any kind. This barrier disproportionally impacts women who make up just 29% of Scottish councillors.

COSLA’s Barriers to Elected Office, a special interest group chaired by COSLA President Cllr Alison Evison, has identified this absence of family leave as a key barrier preventing individuals from standing or re-standing for elected office.

As a result, the group recommended ‘Family Leave Guidance for Councillors’ covering maternity, paternity, shared and adoption leave.

This guidance includes the recommendation that councillors on leave continue to receive both their basic and Special Responsibility allowances in full where appropriate.

COSLA acknowledged that the payment of Special Responsibility Allowance is not always possible within the constraints of current legislation and so agreed to press the Scottish government to allow greater local flexibility and decision making on this matter.?

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