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HSF to pay super on unpaid leave, extends parental leave allowances

Global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills is extending its parental leave offerings, with superannuation on both paid and unpaid parental leave available, as part of new firm-wide changes.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 11 March 2022 Big Law
HSF to pay super on unpaid leave, extends parental leave allowances
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In a statement, Herbert Smith Freehills has said it will extend its parental leave offering from 18 weeks to 26 weeks and will also pay superannuation on both paid and unpaid leave for up to 52 weeks.

Furthermore, the firm has reduced the eligibility criteria for paid parental leave from 12 months of continuous service to six months so that more staff will be able to benefit from the new measures.

Elsewhere, anyone who suffers pregnancy loss after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy will be eligible for 26 weeks of paid parental leave.


HSF has also introduced additional paid leave for people and their partners undergoing fertility treatment or surrogacy.

The changes, the firm proclaimed, mean it is “one of the first law firms in Australia” to pay superannuation on unpaid leave. The changes come into effect on 1 May 2022 and will have no distinction between primary and secondary carers.

The updated policy has a transitional provision, HSF noted, in that it applies for all babies born since 1 January 2022.

On top of the updated policy, the firm recognises, it said, that all persons will have “a different journey to parenthood and different needs” when it comes to parental leave.

As such, the firm is implementing personalised return plans that purport to aid returning parents in managing work, career progression and family commitments.

“Plans will be tailored to suit individual requirements but could include a change in type of work, overall workload and flexibility in when, how and where work is done,” the firm detailed.

“For lawyers, their plan might also include a reduction in the expected number of chargeable hours.”

Speaking about the changes, HSF Australian executive partner Andrew Pike said that the firm is committed to investing in its people and supporting them through their most important career and life milestones.

“These changes will empower our people to excel, while balancing their vital roles outside the firm,” he declared.

“We believe that paying superannuation on the unpaid portion of parental leave is an important step to address the significant gender pay gap that exists in Australia today.”

HSF global director of culture and inclusion Danielle Kelly (pictured) added: “We want our people to feel supported, valued and confident that their career will continue to progress at the firm when they become parents.

“Returning from parental leave looks different for everyone and we are committed to making it an experience that is positive for our people’s careers and family lives, as well as their teams. We will work with our people returning from parental leave to agree on a personalised path that suits their needs and ensures that they have a positive transition back to work.”