Freshfields, CC and Linklaters lead City for best maternity packages
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance (CC) have emerged as the top UK law firms with the most generous maternity packages, according to Legal Week research into the benefits on offer at the UK’s 15 largest firms by revenue.
Data provided by the firms about the packages offered to fee earners below partner level and support staff shows Freshfields has the best package, with the firm giving all staff employed for at least 18 months the equivalent of 29 weeks on full pay. This breaks down as 26 weeks full pay, followed by six weeks at 50%, with an additional seven weeks on statutory maternity pay (SMP) and 13 weeks unpaid.
This compares with the UK statutory maternity package of six weeks’ on 90%, followed by 33 weeks SMP of £135 a week.
CC has the next best package, offering lawyers and support staff managers 22 weeks at full pay, plus a lump sum bonus equivalent to six weeks’ pay at the start of leave.
Linklaters and Simmons & Simmons are close behind, with the pair both offering 26 weeks at full pay to lawyers and support staff, followed by 13 weeks on SMP. Simmons’ package is the same for partners, while Linklaters’ partner package stands at 100% salary for the first 13 weeks, 50% for weeks 14 to 20 and 25% for weeks 21 to 35.
At the other end of the scale Bird & Bird offers staff with under three years’ service six weeks on 90%, 12 weeks at 50% pay and 21 weeks SMP. Those employed by the firm for at least four years recieve a more generous package equating to 15 weeks on full pay.
In general, larger City firms outperform their smaller rivals or those with presences outside the City. Eversheds, for example, offers six weeks at 90% pay, with 12 weeks at half pay. In order to receive 18 weeks’ full pay mothers must agree to return to the firm for at least six months. DLA Piper, meanwhile, offers 14 weeks on full pay.
Several firms reviewed their maternity and paternity policies early last year. Hogan Lovells and Allen & Overy (A&O) both improved their offering, with A&O pushing its package up significantly to the equivalent of 22 weeks full pay, up from 12 weeks plus an additional eight weeks bonus for those returning for at least three months.
Commenting on its maternity policy Freshfields London head of HR Jill Hoseason (pictured) said: “We believe that to attract and retain more of our talented women we need to make the transition for those leaving to go on maternity and those returning to work as smooth as possible.
“This is about more than simply offering a competitive maternity package. We’ve recently revamped our provisions to include targeted maternity coaching before, during and after maternity leave and are making improvements to the guidance we provide to line managers and the working environment.”
Simmons HR director Dan Flint commented: “Most of our recent focus has been on ensuring that both men and women have the flexibility they need to balance their careers with their equally demanding roles as parents or carers.”
By Pui-Guan Man.