Survey results published this week by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions found councillors with full-time jobs integrated their work and council duties without over-burdening themselves or their employers.
However, a commentary on the results suggests that reducing the burden on most members would improve the diversity of candidates. It says the increased burden on proposed executive councillors could justify full-time positions.
Managers and professionals were over-represented among councillors. There was also a strong public sector bias to their employment, with 44% drawn from the state sector.
Although nearly 60% of employers had a formal time-off policy for councillors, this was more likely in the public sector or in larger companies. But 79% were unfamiliar with the Employment Rights Act 1996 which requires employers to give employees 'reasonable' time off for council duties.
Just over 20% of the 977 employers believed employing a councillor was bad for business, usually because of the greater burden on other staff.
Well over half (59%) acknowledged that a councillor on the staff brought benefits to their business - mainly from 'the increased knowledge of local issues and political awareness'.
But the costs of losing an employee to council duties caused problems for 28% of staff, while increased pressures on other staff were mentioned by 42%.