'Careful with the white gold, I'm in the civil service not Simmons.'
Simmons & Simmons has awarded £1,500 to staff most likely to be adversely impacted by the rising cost of living, while the government has given its lawyers £200.
Simmons' awards are being made to employees earning less less than £50,000 a year, including contractors. An impressed source told ROF the sums were not being made on a pro rata basis, meaning even part-time Simmons employees would receive the full amount.
"I love bitching about my employer as much as the next corporate wage slave, but hats off to them on this one", said the S&S insider: "Quietly doing a responsible thing".
A Simmons spokesperson confirmed that, "In recognition of the challenging economic climate, Simmons & Simmons will be giving a one off cost of living payment of £1500 to all UK staff earning below £50,000".
There was less appreciation for the munificence of management at the Government Legal Department, where staff have been also been given a one-off cost-of-living payment, of £200.
An insider told ROF, "Just when everyone at the GLD thinks things cannot get any possibly worse, the executive team (who are all on 6 figure salaries) have recognised the crippling levels of inflation and the soaring cost of living by giving the GLD workforce a one off payment", which, after tax and national insurance contributions, "will probably amount to 90 quid in their pocket".
The dissatisfaction is a symptom of wider discontent with the GLD board's failure to secure its lawyers a pay rise after 18 months. In an update leaked to ROF, GLD management confirmed to staff that it while it was still trying to "push forward with the pay case", it was "unable to implement an interim pay award".
After "looking at other ways" to recognise the efforts being made by staff and "the growing cost-of-living pressures being felt by many", it decided that raiding the GLD kitty was the solution. It means that although staff will get £200 apiece, the funding "will come from the in-year bonus pot", which "will reduce the amount of funds available for in-year bonuses for the remainder of the financial year". It's enough to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
A spokesperson for the Government Legal Department said, "GLD continually strives to support its people and recognise the exceptional contribution our staff are making to helping the Government deliver its priorities, including the profound economic challenges the UK is facing. This one-off payment reflects this commitment and brings forward funding for payments already earmarked for later in the year". A GLD lawyer said, "Merry fucking Christmas".
Simmons has adopted the template of Bird & Bird, which in July made a one-off cost-of-living payment of £1,000 to all staff in London earning £50k or less. It joins a growing band of firms which have dipped their hands in their pockets as inflation, energy bills and the price of a pint of milk continue to climb. Clifford Chance has provided an extra £1,500 to all its trainee solicitors and business services staff, while Shoosmiths handed out £1,000 to all staff, and Irwin Mitchell has given everyone £900.