Providing for Parents: International Law Firms Reviewing Parental Policies

April 19, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

After releasing their latest gender pay gap figures, Ashurst and Hogan Lovells are revising some of their policies, aiming to change attitudes and aid women’s success in the workplace.

What does this mean?

Since it’s become mandatory for big companies to publish information on any gender pay gap, there has been more proactive change from law firms with the aim of improving gender equality.

Ashurst has thoroughly reviewed its shared parental leave policy. This is when parents are given the freedom to decide how to share their time off work after their child is born. Since reviewing its policy, Ashurst has launched a platform called “Stay In Touch”. The platform gives employees valuable information about parental leave. It also offers them case studies from colleagues who have started families and gives them a portal to interact with staff to let them know when they’ll be back. Ashurst are particularly aiming to increase the number of men taking part in their scheme. This is because only half the men who take paternity leave currently use the service. Through these initiatives, the firm’s set its sights on becoming “the most progressive global law firm”.

Hogan Lovells is examining the transition arrangements for those returning from parental leave. They are exploring the option of changing the way work is allocated to these new-returners. This change is to ensure that that people are not disadvantaged when balancing both their childcare and work obligations.

Why should law firms care?

When it comes to parental policies, law firms are rightly treating it as an issue that affects both men and women. There is a stigma surrounding men taking parental leave and wider research has shown that men feel that taking it may impact their career prospects. Therefore, this must be normalised in the future, so that men and women can be equally engaged in a firm’s parental schemes

As Ashurst is a global firm, it is looking to create a standardised policy that can be used in all of its offices. In improving their maternity leave policies, the firm will improve its employees’ family life and enhance the firm’s own reputation.

Young professionals also pay attention to the gender issues in a firm. Many people consider it a significant factor when deciding where they want to start their legal careers. Therefore, in improving the flexibility it offers to workers, the firm can attract top talent to join them as trainees.

Since gender pay gap reporting has become mandatory, it has become a tool for people to have the important conversations. In order to help current staff, attract young professionals and break the stigma of the legal sector, firms must work hard to improve their gender pay gap figures.

What we’ve seen from these firms is a step in the right direction.

Report written by Maab S

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