Parental leave policy for councillors

The LGA Labour Women’s Taskforce has drawn up a model parental leave policy that can be used by Labour Groups and by full councils.

As of 2017, only 4 per cent of local authorities had a parental leave policy in place for councillors, and in all other councils, arrangements for leave after the birth of a child is discretionary based on arrangements with the leader at the time.

A parental leave policy will make it easier for parents and councils alike to plan for when councillors take parental leave. Our parental leave policy covers birth and adoption.

Anneliese Dodds MP, Harriet Harman MP and Jess Phillips MP are supporting the introduction of a model parental leave policy. Read their statements below.

If you have any questions please email Hannah Lazell, Political Advisor to the Labour Group on [email protected]

LGA Labour Group - on parental leave

Anneliese Dodds MP holding sign supporting parental leave for councillors

Anneliese Dodds MP, Chair of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities said:

"As the Chair of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, I want to see us have the broadest and most diverse range of councillors across our country – inspirational people from all backgrounds and all walks of life standing up for their local area and making a difference to people’s lives.

That won’t happen if people – especially women – are worried about how having children might impact on their ability to serve as a councillor. With no proper support in place, we risk losing some of our best and most experienced councillors when they start a family, and missing out on many more who are put off applying in the first place. That’s why I support the model parental leave policy drawn up by LGA Labour Women’s taskforce and urge all Labour Groups, and all Labour-led councils, to sign up to it."

Harriet Harman on parental leave

Harriet Harman MP, former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Camberwell and Peckham said:

“Women are the biggest ‘consumers’ of council services. Most council employees are women. Yet women are still very much in a minority on councils and nearly all council leaders are men.

It’s important to continue to work to change the way councils work to ensure that women’s voices are heard and to increase the number of women councillors.

Introducing parental leave is important to back up younger women on councils in continuing to play their part during their child bearing/adopting years and I hope councils up and down the country will adopt this policy.”


Jess Phillips MP on parental leave

Jess Phillips MP, Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and MP for Birmingham Yardley said:

“Councils must make sure that they adopt parental leave policies, I think the average citizen would be stunned to hear that a woman councillor is not entitled to any maternity leave or any support for her after having a baby. Gone are the days when our democracy was about older men making decisions in grand rooms.

We need to make sure the people who make the decisions about our local childcare, our youth services, our domestic abuse prevention and sexual health services represent the people who use them. We need to make being a councillor attractive to women, because we have a lot of work to do in this area.”