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Norton Rose has ditched its flexible working scheme three months ahead of schedule, citing an increase in activity.
The City firm introduced the scheme on 1 May last year in a bid to prevent redundancies (2 April 2009). It was originally intended to run for a full year, but the firm said that work has now picked up sufficiently to allow the project to stop early.
The scheme, which had more than 600 employees signed up to it in summer 2009, allowed staff to either work four-day weeks on an 85 per cent salary or take sabbaticals of four to 12 weeks on 30 per cent pay.
At the time of its conception, 96 per cent of staff voted in favour of the plan. The firm estimates that it has saved around 100 jobs thanks to the scheme.
CMS Cameron-McKenna introduced a similar project last year, offering four-day weeks, unpaid leave or six-month sabbatical placements with other members of the CMS alliance on 50 per cent pay (1 June 2009).
Unlike the Norton Rose version, Camerons’ ‘Flex’ scheme did not include partners. Around 97 per cent of support staff signed up to the scheme, which is due to come to an end in December.
The firm does not have any plans to bring forward the end of its scheme.
“We tried to start it early so a lot of people have already taken up the option,” said senior partner Richard Price. “For the most part it’s already been done.”