New mums and dads at Clyde & Co can now enjoy six months of night feeds and nappy runs without worrying about work thanks to the firm's introduction of the gold standard of parental leave policies.
New parents at Clyde's, whether or not they are their child's primary carer, are now entitled to 26 weeks’ fully paid leave, provided they’ve worked at the firm for at least a year.
As it's not subject to shared parental leave criteria, the time can be taken off regardless of whatever leave the other parent is taking.
Many firms do not offer 26 weeks of maternity leave at full pay, and rolling out the same deal to dads is an even scarcer perk.
A typical offering is DAC Beachcroft's, where mums receive 12 weeks at full salary and then 12 weeks at 50% of salary, and dads make do with a fortnight at full pay, with the possibility after that of shared parental leave with enhanced pay.
A source at Clyde & Co said the firm had matched Ashurst, which introduced a best-in-class parental leave policy in 2021.
At both firms the perk is global, benefitting parents wherever they work, and applies to primary and secondary parents and carers, including adopters.
Carolena Gordon, Clyde & Co‘s senior partner, said, "We know how much goes into starting a family and the challenges that balancing home and work brings, especially when working in a high-performance environment. We want to help our people build careers with us and fulfil their potential here”.
There’s the hope, too, that making life more pleasant for new parents will tackle the problem of female lawyers leaving private practice in ever greater numbers as they move up the career ladder. “We also believe our offering is an important means of improving gender diversity, particularly at a senior level where law firms have typically struggled to make significant progress”, said Gordon.
Other elements of the policy include 10 days fully paid leave for fertility treatment, up to 12 additional weeks’ paid leave for parents with children in neonatal care, four weeks fully paid leave for pregnancy loss in the first 20 weeks, and up to 26 weeks’ paid leave for pregnancy loss after 20 weeks.
Crediting conversations with employees and the firm’s gender equality network for giving rise to the initiative, Kate Mathias, Clydes’ Chief People Officer, said it would even apply retrospectively.
“We also want to ensure as many colleagues as possible benefit from the policy which is why we’re extending this enhanced offering to those who are already new parents or may have recently returned from parental leave”, she said. So no escape to the office for knackered new parents. Get back to the Ella pouches and vommed-on cardies.
Karen Davies, Global Chair at Ashurst, told RollOnFriday its landmark parental leave policy had proved popular since its introduction in 2021: “the feedback we have had from our people since its launch, and seeing the positive impact it is having on our workforce, has really reaffirmed its success. It is encouraging to see that other firms are joining us in this journey".
Responses to the RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2023 bore that out, with one Ashurst respondent crediting the the firm for having "supported me massively" after a still birth, which included full maternity pay for six months and being "very accommodating with my return to work”.
Parental leave remains a source of contention in many firms. Golden Turd BCLP was pulled up for its “terrible maternity leave policy” in ROF's survey, on the basis that it comprised “13 weeks at 90% pay and 13 weeks at 50% pay”.
Burges Salmon's parental leave policy, which is on a par with many other firms', produced some of the few complaints about the Best Law Firm to Work At 2023. “The only thing I don't like about the firm is the maternity policy”, said one respondent, referring to the provision for mums of 13 weeks' full pay and 13 weeks' half pay, and two week's fully-paid leave for dads (plus the option of enhanced parental pay under the shared parental leave scheme).
A respondent at another firm indicated that at her office, the prevailing view of parental leave was that taking it denoted a lack of ambition. A lawyer at the national firm recalled how, when she announced she was pregnant, she was told by a colleague "openly in a team meeting that I was a 'part timer' and they hoped I would enjoy my 'nine month holiday.' The partners actually laughed”.
If lawyers do leave, they may be in for a nasty surprise. One lawyer complained to ROF that her firm required her to pay back her maternity leave compensation when she decided to quit, because it was structured as a conditional loan.
“I have personally been required to repay this ‘maternity leave loan’ which is essentially an unspoken tax on woman for having a child”, she said.
“It is not a format that any other progressive country adopts and I was shocked that my law firm even tried to enforce such an unfair term after I generated so much profit for them during my tenure”, said the lawyer, adding that it was “particularly difficult given I had never wanted to stop working...I had simply asked to work remotely for 12 months”.
When it comes to parental leave, is your shop the cutest baby, not quite sleeping through, or producing massive amounts of poo all the way up its back just after you used the last nappy in the pack? Drop us a line or sound off in the comments.
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Without wanting to crater the Clyde & Co love in (because this is great!), I think the majority of big City firms now offer six months of fully paid shared parental leave. Even Slaughters, which has had it since c.2019/20...
It's an essential benefit for any firm serious about keeping talented women in the workforce.
Groundbreaking this seems superior to a package operating under shared parental leave because the Clydes parent can take six months off on full pay regardless of whether the other parent is taking full leave as well. There's no need to share it out in blocks across the 2 of you, if there are 2 of you.
12 weeks for dads here, irrespective of what mum's up to (i.e. doesn't have to be shared)
Fantastic - more firms should follow suit.
Just want to be clear that those 26 weeks can be taken in irregular chunks or part-weeks over a longer period - my Mrs needed support over a protracted period (traumatic birth, prem baby, long recovery).
If not, then Clydes, no you don't really know what goes into childcare.
My firm was shit, by the way. Any leave was unpaid and given begrudgingly - telling me I was letting the side down. My hours went down and they "managed me out". Cnts. Will never work for a West End firm again.
this is actually something that makes a difference. I hope this becomes the standard across the industry.
Genuinely good for them. Maternity pay is bad in this country and law firms can afford to treat parents decently.
My firm’s maternity policy is 90% pay for 13 weeks and then 13 weeks statutory. Its paternity policy is 2 weeks at 90%. Appallingly tight.
The firm sells itself on being friendly and inclusive with a good work/life balance. Miserly parental leave undermines all that.
GC won't be happy.
This has only come around as they had no intention of bringing the BLM maternity policy (10 weeks full pay then stat) to Clyde & Co's policy (13 weeks full pay, then a number of weeks half pay and then stat) and were expecting BLM staff to just accept this.
So whilst it's now clearly an excellent thing for new parents and well done Clyde & Co, it has only been due to significant complaints.
And also likely an attempt to avoid dealing with other issues like salary alignment etc.
I hope this policy is retrospective so it covers the baby I ended up having when I was at uni and at the ripe old age of 19 as a result of a drunken one night stand with a waitress. My daughter is now 11
Really good policy. I think people would be surprised at how many firms only pay statutory.
Good on Clydes. But this only works if men are positively encouraged to take it as most are worried about career impact. My firm has a similar policy but the attitude of the male partners to men taking any leave is indifferent or negative.
Funny how you post ‘love ins’ with C and C but nothing on the dreadful way the ‘merger’ was handled or the mass exodus of BLM staff
The equal application of parental leave policies to mums and dads should be standard across the industry.
It's archaic to presume dads are only going to want/need 2 weeks (even though after 3 weeks plenty may be longing to get back to the peace and quiet of the office and have an excuse for sleeping through the night).
Of course mums will be doing more, and of course they have more need for the leave, but the support dads could offer mums in those knackering early months will also benefit the mums.
I escaped to work for peace and quiet after my new born!!!
Good policy though. Fair play.
Nothing, 9.58? EXCLUSIVE Clyde & Co to make BLM's salaried partners reapply for roles
The exodus of BLM staff is a part of the long term strategy here and to be fair it is the only way insurance firms are going to survive.
The take over is simply a way to usurp a competitor and remove them from the market.
There is no intention to align staff or partners in the already overcrowded poorly paid insurance market.
By removing the competition there are less firms for insurers to choose when tenders come up - so it doesn't matter how much you water down the product and replace PQE's with paralegals, when it's only one of three to chose from. You are simply reducing the odds of losing a tender / not being picked once more.
This is great - really, I'm delighted for my former colleagues. This policy is miles better than the policy at my current employer (albeit the issue isn't likely to affect me any time soon).
Having said that, Clydes has been very badly hemorrhaging good people for over a year for one reason and one reason only: paying less than other similar firms. Nothing else but paying more will fix the problem they find themselves confronting. Just a few years ago they were the (insurance) market leader on pay. Yes, the quality of work they do is great, but we're in a cost of living crisis so nothing will make anyone except those about to start families stay other than more cash. End of. No debate.
Please wake up! 19 May 23 10:23
Until you understand the difference between less and fewer then you will be stuck in the murky insurance law pit.
When did RoF become a mouthpiece for Clyde & Co? Oh yeah when they paid them money to sponsor ads for “recruitment”.
losing your credibility Jamie Hamilton.
I had credibility?!
Escapee @ 11:04
Hit the nail on the head there. The hours you are expected to work at C&C is similar to that of large non-insurance firms, yet the pay is much less. Why would you stay and work those hours when you can go down the road to a better resourced team doing the same work for 40k more? Their sell of being a market leader in insurance and allowing fee earners to get exposure to the biggest matters, is true. Although, post-exodus, the hours are worse as they don’t replace the exits because their salaries are so laughable in the market that they cannot attract good talent in. Crazy how management haven’t realised this.
Can people stop calling the Clydes/BLG acquisition a 'merger'?
Equity looks to the substance not the form...
I (male 10y PQE) took 6 months unpaid shared parental leave so my wife could go back to work and my line managing partner (at a big City firm) joking called it a "career cliff to jump off". I don't work there any more.
I think if young parents and parent-planners start making more noise, Burges Salmon will probably end up upgrading their policy to do something nearly as good. 6 months off full pay is.. wow.
Ridiculous paternity policy here - dads in the US offices get 12 weeks - dads in London get 2!
Stuck in the 90s…
Great...but how about sorting the basics first... like Salery rises for BLM staff who at this rate will soon be relying on food banks.
Having murdered BLM, now we see Clydes try to give something back.
Good headline today. But the exodus continues.
Great initiative but, it’s just another thing to do rather than to increase pay. They give anything but pay rises a go to try to stop haemorrhaging staff.
‘Just want to be clear that those 26 weeks can be taken in irregular chunks or part-weeks over a longer period - my Mrs needed support over a protracted period (traumatic birth, prem baby, long recovery).
If not, then Clydes, no you don't really know what goes into childcare.’
i doubt it. This sounds more like maternity leave - where you have to take it as a solid chunk. This works for the firm as it’s easier to plan around (in exchange - you get good pay whilst on leave).
If it were as you suggest, ‘take leave over split periods’ when you need to - it will make it very difficult to cover - so with this type of leave - you tend to get rubbish pay.
if CC are doing both flexible use and full pay then this is an even greater perk than advertised! Anyone at CC or @Jamie Hamilton know?
Bravo Bravo! Just wondering if the small remainder of BLM staff will get to benefit off this? Before they are all slyly pushed out the door? Doubt it.
This is outrageous… but who cares, it’s Clyde…
I don’t know how my firm expect women to stay - you need 4 years service and only then can you get 12wks 100%, 20wks 50%, 7wks SMP.
2 weeks for dads…. But they are all about retaining women talent of course!!
Is it retrospective as I’d like to spend more time with my 28 year old son?
Any firm not offering the same entitlement to both parents (regardless of gender), needs to take a long hard look at themselves
You do realise that this benefit is perfectly normal in proper global companies and has been for decades? Lol @sweatshop law firms.
Please could people share what they receive for mat/pat leave and whether strings are attached? This isn’t spoken about nearly enough. I work for a white-shoe US firm and mat leave pay is 18 weeks full pay then statutory and pat leave is 4 weeks full pay. What is the market standard? The more we talk about it the better for us all.
Agree with the BLM observations. The BLM remaining staff in clyde co are having a pretty grim experience at the moment and the hope clearly from clyde co is more of them will hand in notice. I think there will be a further large exodus of the remaining BLM people shortly.