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Clayton Utz extends paid parental leave to 26 weeks

Clayton Utz has rolled out a new 26-week paid parental leave policy, in what the chief executive partner said would be a point of difference for staff attraction and retention.

user iconLauren Croft 07 July 2022 Big Law
Clayton Utz extends paid parental leave to 26 weeks
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Effective from this month, Clayton Utz staff will now be entitled to 26 weeks of paid parental leave. The firm has also removed the distinction between primary and secondary carers and will offer parents greater flexibility as to when they access the paid leave, which can be taken over two years.

Bruce Cooper, chief executive partner, said the changes underlined the firm’s commitment to being an employer of choice.

“The amount and flexibility of paid parental leave can make a difference to people and their choice of, and commitment to, an employer,” he said.

 
 

“Changes to drop distinctions between primary and secondary carers are an important part of our new policy, as is the flexibility in how any parental leave can be taken. Along with our already-recognised leading reputation on diversity, inclusion and wellness issues, our employee offering is a compelling one.”

In May this year, Clayton Utz was also certified as a Family Inclusive Workplace by Family Friendly Workplaces; a joint initiative led by UNICEF Australia and Parents At Work.

This news follows the unveiling of a senior parental leave program at the firm – which currently pays superannuation on paid and unpaid parental leave and provides support for senior parental leavers, including executive coaching and one-on-one business support – something which Alison Woolsey, director of diversity and inclusion, told Lawyers Weekly in April was especially important for gender equity.

“We know that women are retiring with less superannuation than men. As an employer, we can help to address that gap by paying super on unpaid care work, and of course improving our organisation-wide gender pay gap and women’s access to leadership and management roles,” she said.

“[The senior parental leave program] is designed for our very senior lawyers as well as partners, and aims to provide support through the various stages of parental leave: before the individual starts their leave, during the leave period, and on return to work. The support includes having a dedicated ‘support’ partner (or two) who, among things, commits to supporting the parental leaver’s business plan, actively encouraging other partners to work collaboratively with the parental leaver, and in the first six to 12 months after their return to work, supporting and sponsoring them to grow their practice through providing potential opportunities for work in their areas of expertise, for example.”

In addition, the firm provides membership of Parents At Work for staff, which includes resources for working parents, as well as brings together different resources for different family circumstances and caregiving responsibilities as part of its Circle In digital hub. Clayton Utz also recently launched a new health and wellbeing Embrace program, making it easier for staff to access mental, physical, psychological or financial support, to suit their individual needs, life stage and situation.

Lawyers Weekly has reported extensively on the bolstering of parental leave and related policies by Australian law firms in recent times. You can read those stories below: