A new scheme which provides maternity leave for councillors will be positive for all women wishing to pursue a career in politics, says local TD Richard Bruton. The proposed new scheme will allow for the appointment of a temporary substitute for a maternity related absence.
“Currently, Councillors are not classified as employees, meaning they are not covered by the statutory framework on issues such as maternity leave” reports Richard Bruton before going on to say “this scheme now provides access to maternity leave under the Maternity Protection Act 1994. Councillors will be entitled to the same rights as female employees, and those with the relevant PRSI contributions.”
The proposal as it stands is an attempt to address situations where councillors feel under pressure to turn up to important votes or debates or fulfil their community representative role, when they would really prefer or need to be at home caring for their new baby or recovering themselves.
Commenting on the draft legislation, Minister responsible Peter Burke commented: “After significant engagement with councillors across the country, with legal advisers and officials, I am delighted to secure Cabinet approval for my proposals to provide maternity leave for councillors.”
According to Minister Burke, Ireland’s rate of female participation in both local and national government is shamefully low, and this measure will help remove another obstacle and make active participation in local politics a more realistic and accessible option for half the population.
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