19 Aug 2022

Maternity scheme for councillors

Longford County Council headquarters

Senator welcomes maternity scheme for councillors

The new scheme providing maternity leave for councillors will be positive for women pursuing a career in politics local Fine Gael Senator Micheál Carrigy has claimed.

The scheme allows female councillors can appoint a temporary substitute for a maternity-related absence.

At present councillors are not classified as employees, meaning they are not covered by the statutory framework on issues such as maternity leave.

The scheme 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 to allow for a temporary substitute will address situations where councillors feel 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.

Senator Carrigy remarked on the importance of the support: “Fine Gael is working to build stronger, safer communities. Our councillors make a hugely valuable contribution to local communities and Fine Gael in Government will continue to ensure they are supported.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke who's Department oversaw the legislation said: “The decision allows us to address a deficit which should not exist in a 21st century workplace, to provide full maternity leave for our councillors.

“Our rate of female participation in both local and national government is shamefully low, and I believe this measure will remove another obstacle and allow us to make the role of a councillor more accessible to half of our population.”

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