Alberta municipalities may soon be able to allow councillors to take parental leave.
Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson introduced a bill Monday, that would let councils create these policies, but not force them too.
Edmonton city councillor Bev Esslinger said Monday, all they want is to be able to decide for themselves.
“Now every municipality has some different values around that, we’re full time and many other municipalities have part time councillors, so I’m sure it’s different in different situations. But for us the point was we were having the opportunity to develop a parental leave policy. Cause up to now all we could do was have someone come and say I’d like to have an extended leave, this is why. So it’s a one off every time.”
Right now if a councillor misses more than eight consecutive council meetings they can be disqualified from office.
If the bill passes it’s unknown what the city’s policy would look like.
“People would like to know how many weeks they could have off, and what are we going to do about that?” Esslinger said. “What kind of supports do we have to have in place for that? To serve the citizens right.”
Esslinger said when she saw the bill be introduced she immediately began thinking about the how?
“Okay now what do we have to do to create this policy? Do we do an engagement process? What do we do? Cause I think it’s not effective until the fall which is really not helpful, but at least we’ll have one, so. It’s the option that we can make our own policy, and that we can count on it. That’s what’s important.”
She said these policies could encourage more people to run for public office, because they wouldn’t have to wait until after they had kids.’