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Far-reaching employment rights should be written into barristers’ contracts when they join chambers, under new guidelines issued by the Bar Council today. Under the scheme, barristers now will be able to have statements written into their employment policies allowing them to take career breaks, work flexible hours, part-time or partly from home. It also allows barristers on maternity leave six months without having to pay rent and chambers expenses . Their place in chambers will also be kept open for one year. Jane McNeill QC, who campaigned for the change, said: "With 1,502 called to the bar last year of whom 51 per cent were women it is important more than ever that family life is accommodated. "Retention of women at the bar is vital for the future for the profession and we hope these proposals go some way to address this."