"Congratulations, it's a radically improved parental leave policy. Called Bryan"
At present, in the UK primary carers who work at BCLP are entitled to 13 weeks leave on full pay and 13 weeks at 50%, while a secondary carer – usually a dad – is entitled to just a fortnight on 100% pay.
A week after ROF quoted critics of the firm’s policy, it’s been ripped up and replaced. From 1st July, the primary carer will be entitled to 26 weeks at full pay, and a secondary carer will be permitted 13 weeks at full pay.
It’s not as generous as the policy adopted by Clyde & Co and pioneered by Ashurst, which comprises 26 weeks of full pay for primary and secondary carers and applies to any office worldwide, but given BCLP's old policy, which is still standard at many firms, it’s a significant step up.
The provision for shared parental leave has also been upgraded, from 13 weeks at 100% pay, 13 weeks at 50%, and 13 weeks at statutory, to 26 weeks at 100% pay and 13 weeks at statutory.
BCLP was created when UK-based BLP merged with Bryan Cave, which has its HQ in St Louis, Missouri, and the deal for the US side of the business is slightly different: 20 weeks at 100% pay for both primary and secondary carers. Staff outside the UK and US will receive full pay for 20 weeks if they are the primary carer and 13 weeks if they are the secondary carer.
In a joint statement, BCLP co-chairs Lisa Mayhew and Steve Baumer said, “We are keenly aware of how important these policies are in enabling our colleagues to balance career ambitions with nurturing their home lives. The wellbeing of all its people is a priority for the firm, and these changes are key components in supporting BCLP workers and their families.”
BCLP took a beating from its staff in the RollOnFriday's Best Law Firms to Work At 2023 survey, but tackling shortcomings in its parental leave policy addresses a criticism which was raised by several respondents, as well as illustrating that its management has taken the concerns seriously.
Clydes was applauded by a majority of readers commenting on its new policy last week, one of whom called 26 weeks full pay for primary and secondary carers without the requirement for shared leave "fantastic", while another said "this is actually something that makes a difference. I hope this becomes the standard across the industry".
ROF will of course be claiming credit for BCLP’s decision to improve the deal for new parents, but not for its other announcement this week: of 47 redundancies in the firm’s business services ranks.
Mainly affecting secretaries in the US (two people are losing their jobs in the UK), the firm said the cuts were not due to a wobbly market, but a long-overdue rebalancing of the ratio of PAs to fee-earners.
In a statement the firm said, "These decisions were not made lightly and we are saddened to say goodbye to valued team members".
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