Ashurst launches 26-week parental leave policy
BigLaw firm Ashurst is introducing a “landmark” global parental leave policy, which it says strengthens its support frameworks for working parents at the firm, regardless of gender.
The new policy – which is being backdated to 1 May 2021 – will see 26 weeks of fully paid leave offered to staff members, irrespective of gender identity. Legal staff will also have a three-month reduction in “chargeable” hours targets once they return to work.
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Moreover, the policy includes pregnancy loss provisions that comprise two weeks of paid leave for anyone who suffers a pregnancy loss whether it happens directly to them, their partner or their surrogate mother, plus an additional five days for related appointments.
Those who suffer pregnancy loss after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy (that is, stillbirth or neonatal loss), however, will have access to the full 26 weeks of paid leave entitlements.
Additionally, Ashurst is set to offer five days of paid leave each year for anyone needing to access fertility treatments.
The firm has made sure, it noted, to remove gendered language “so there is no distinction between primary/secondary and maternity/paternity”.
Finally, the policy makes allowances for surrogacy, foster and kinship care.
Speaking about the new policy, Ashurst chief people officer Andrea Bell said that building tangible support for people building extraordinary careers and a family is critically important.
“Our global parental leave principles recognise the diversity of family life and establish consistent, market-leading support across all of our global offices. This represents a significant enhancement to our existing policies and reflects how we want to ensure that our people get the right level of support,” she said.
“Our commitment to supporting staff wellbeing will also see us introduce a formal pregnancy loss policy. We are committed to providing the most supportive environment that will enable our people to deal with the emotional and physical challenges that pregnancy loss brings.”
Global managing partner Paul Jenkins (pictured) added: “As a global law firm we want to ensure that all our people have access to a globally consistent standard of support. Introducing this progressive new package of measures for our working parents is a key step in that.”