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Childcare and parental leave help proposed for assembly members

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Assembly members are paid £67,649 a year

Welsh assembly members would receive extra funds for childcare and staff help when they are on parental leave, under new plans.

An independent body has recommended AMs receive up to £297 a month for care outside of normal working hours.

The plan is to remove barriers to membership of the assembly – with additional support offered for AMs with disabilities.

Members of the public can have their say on the changes until March 2020.

If they go ahead the changes will come into force in May 2021, when the next assembly term starts.

Dame Dawn Primarolo, chairwoman of the Remuneration Board, said the proposals were aimed at contributing “towards achieving diversity within the Senedd’s membership which in turn will deliver better representation for the people of Wales”.

AMs are currently paid £67,649 a year, changing annually according to how much average wages in Wales rise or fall. That system would continue.

Under the plans, members would be able to claim up to £297 for the care of children or adult dependants outside of normal working hours – classed as between 9am and 6pm.

AMs would need to produce evidence of using registered care providers.

The board has proposed AMs going on parental leave can take on an additional staff member while they are off work.

There were calls for more help for assembly members on parental leave earlier this year.

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AMs with disabilities would be able to claim for support for the costs of “reasonable” adjustments.

The consultation documents say a “very small number” of long-serving AMs from outside of south Wales still receive reimbursement for interest payments on properties they own.

The practice was phased out for new AMs from May 2011, but no end date was placed on when so-called “transitional arrangements” for when the interest payments would end.

Under the new proposals they will stop at the end of the next assembly term in 2026.

Source

neallesh@yahoo.co.uk

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