A&O introduces partner flexi-time to improve female retention

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  • I think some of these comments are misguided. Many women I know (and plenty of men) are driven out of the profession due to an inflexible approach from their employers. As a result these individuals miss out on a promising career and their managers are stripped of some brilliant, well-trained staff. Plus they have to invest in bringing other less able people up to speed or in recruiting.
    This is driven not by malice or sexism but a failure to think in depth about the issues. Firms like A&O (and it is clearly not just A&O) that attempt to engage with these issues and think through a long-term solution should be applauded.

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  • This is not going to change things one little bit. The real problem is structural and relates to capitalist society's over-reliance on unpaid female domestic labour and child-rearing. Until men either GENUINELY take 50 per cent of the responsibility for these activities or appropriately reward women for doing them then we will continue to go round in circles.

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  • Most firms (including A&O) will have an assortment of informal arrangements. You have to applaud the attempt to formalise a policy that balances the flexibility for the individual with the needs of a firm.
    The problem in a partnership is that any individual who doesn't contribute fully is essentially leeching the partnership as a whole, so there is a persistent view that part time partners don't contribute fully. By clearly stating that this is not intended to be a permanent arrangement (hence the cap) and by discounting the remuneration rates A&O have made a realistic attempt at a sustainable balance.
    To the individual ad the firm there's a cost and a benefit - make your decision. Sounds good to me.

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  • I agree that the fact this story is deemed to be newsworthy is a relection of the state of the profession. I work 4 days and do one of those days at home. My firm has been very supportive since my return from maternity leave. Firms will have to be more flexible and imaginative about working practices otherwise they will lose female staff. We have a lot to learn from our clients in the technology sectors where home working and hot desking is the norm, and not just for working mothers. But (and it is a big but) you do have to be available if necessary on your non working day. Reading emails and taking calls is unfortunately just what is expected, and client's attitudes are not going to change when they are paying our sort of rates.

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