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K&L Gates launches “progressive” new parental leave policy

Global law firm K&L Gates has introduced a new parental leave policy across its Australian offices, in a move the managing partner said “sends a critically important message” to their staff.

user iconLauren Croft 28 March 2022 Big Law
K&L Gates launches “progressive” new parental leave policy
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The new parental leave policy includes paid leave for primary carers for all genders regardless of the eligibility for government paid parental leave, as well as six weeks of paid leave for the co-parent.

The new policy followed a thorough review that included consultation with a cross-section of K&L Gates staff and market research within the legal profession and the corporate sector. The new policy also introduces superannuation payments during periods of unpaid parental leave, expands the benefit for co-parents (secondary carers) and extends support to parents undergoing IVF or other fertility treatment.

Managing partner of K&L Gates Australia Nick Nichola said that the gender-inclusive policy was an important step for the firm post-pandemic.


This policy sends a critically important message to our people that it is a realistic expectation that you can continue along your career trajectory and plan a family at the same time,” he said.

“We have also removed the requirement of 12 months service with the firm – anyone seeking a career move and planning a family at the same time will have immediate access to these benefits.

According to the firm, the “progressive” policy ensures that parents, who make up 35 per cent of the firm’s staff in Australia, have access to a number of benefits allowing them to focus on their family without compromising their career prospects.

The 26 weeks may be taken by parents in a flexible way over a period of 18 months and is supported by the firm’s Momentum Program, which is specifically designed to assist its employees on the cusp of promotion to maintain their career momentum while planning a period of parental leave.

Additionally, the policy includes paid leave for those undertaking IVF and other fertility treatments, up to 52 weeks of superannuation payments during parental leave, with benefits extending to anyone who suffers pregnancy loss after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

It is becoming more common for our employees to seek greater flexibility to enable them to better balance parental leave and their career during this important time. The flexibility built into this policy speaks to the full parental leave journey – from the time they announce they are having a baby or adopting a child to the time they transition back to work after the period of parental leave,” Mr Nichola added.  

“The stories we heard during the staff consultation process demonstrated every family circumstance is unique, so why not allow our staff to access the benefits in a way that best suits their family and meets them where they are at regarding their careers.