GCs have a responsibility to push for better D&I policies
In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Linktree general counsel Rosanna Biggs discussed the duty for law department leaders to continue challenging the status quo to better support the needs of all employees.
New and improved diversity and inclusion policies are critical, Rosanna Biggs (pictured) explained, because they serve to recognise that the personal and professional lives of each individual “don’t fit neatly into distinct boxes”.
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“Our working lives are rarely now 9-5 in an office, and parenting doesn’t magically stop when you log onto your laptop. Work can be stressful without adding family planning, the fear of slipping behind with your career, and the return to work after several months of a very different set of responsibilities,” she outlined.
“Companies need to recognise these challenges and build a support structure that enables their people to produce their best work in a flexible way.”
Ms Biggs spoke with Lawyers Weekly following the unveiling of the new parental leave policy for online platform Linktree. The policy aims, she said, to provide an equitable and holistic parental leave experience, “recognising that the planning stage and returning to work can be the most stressful parts of becoming a parent”.
“It has so many amazing components, including paid time off for fertility, IVF and adoption appointments, 18 weeks’ equal paid parental leave (regardless of gender or family construct), vouchers for food delivery whilst you adjust to being a parent, $250 towards parenting classes and resources, 10 keep-in-touch days, a $500 stipend to support your return to work experience, a flexi month to ease you back in, and an extra week of wellbeing leave during your first year back. It also contains provisions for stillborn and infant loss,” she detailed.
While the policy was the “brainchild” of the company’s head of people and culture and its three founders, Ms Biggs was involved in “fine tuning the policy, making sure it’s unambiguous, can be implemented fairly, and takes into account legal, business and people factors”.
It is fundamentally important, she stressed, for leaders of law departments to continue to push for such D&I policies to be introduced as businesses look ahead to a post-pandemic market.
“Legal departments have a very privileged position in-house – we get insight into the workings of all departments and the direction of the business,” she submitted.
“On this basis, we have a responsibility to continue to challenge the status quo and push for D&I policies that increase diversity of thought, support our unique experiences, and celebrate our differences.”
Ms Biggs added that she is excited about being in a position where she can support her company to better facilitate a more hospitable, collegiate and supportive workplace – as all GCs should be.
“Great things happen when we can bring our whole selves to work, but to foster a culture where this genuinely happens, it requires companies to embed policies and practices that celebrate different opinions and lived experiences, and create a culture of acceptance,” she said.
“Linktree has really invested in this, and it’s paying dividends – our culture facilitates and attracts creativity, intellect, and lots and lots of fun!”