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Three firms and an 18-week baby policy

Three firms and an 18-week baby policy

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has become the third major law firm to offer 18 weeks paid parental leave.Joining Freehills, who announced its revised policy last week (26 November), and Allens Arthur…

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has become the third major law firm to offer 18 weeks paid parental leave.

Joining Freehills, who announced its revised policy last week (26 November), and Allens Arthur Robinson, Corrs will now offer the "primary carer" 18 weeks full paid leave from 1 January 2011.

Corrs will make a formal announcement later this week.

Staff at both Freehills and Corrs would be eligible for the policy after one year's service, with Corrs parental leave policy previously only being available for staff with at least 18 months tenure.

Corrs previously offered 14 weeks paid parental leave to staff, while Freehills offered 12 weeks.

Freehills CEO Gavin Bell told Lawyers Weekly that while the catalyst behind the firm's decision to extend its parental leave policy was a response to recent changes in federal legislation, he also expects the revised policy to make his firm more attractive in the marketplace.

"This will certainly help us to retain and attract the best people," he said. "You can't have a position that is different from your competitors, you couldn't be materially behind your competitors in this space."

Bell said that senior management at the firm had sought feedback on extending its parental leave scheme over the past 12-18 months, and that last week's announcement was part of a range of policies aimed at increasing workplace flexibility.

He also said Freehills would be open to extending the period of paid parental leave in the future.

In July Mallesons Stephen Jaques increased its paid parental leave period to 14 weeks.

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