<a class=Norton Rose moots four-day week to save jobs” />Norton Rose is to offer staff a four-day working week as part of a year-long contingency plan to cope with the economic downturn.

The firm will ask eligible staff to agree to work part-time on 85 per cent of base salary for a year, or take a sabbatical of four to 12 weeks on 30 per cent of base salary.

The scheme will not be adopted unless the majority of employees agree to take part, the firm said in a statement.

The firm is currently holding a consultation with staff about whether to
take up the initiative on 1 May and would retain the option not to use it if
market conditions improved.

Nearly all employees would be asked to reduce their hours, although it has not yet been decided whether trainees will be included.

Any salary cuts are being capped at a maximum of 80 per cent of base salary.

Norton Rose chief executive Peter Martyr (pictured) said: “In the current economic climate we believe it’s prudent to take pre-emptive action to protect our business and our staff in case things get worse next year.

“We see an advantage in maintaining our reputation as good employers and we hope to be able to maintain the strength of the practice so that we can take immediate advantage of the upturn when it arrives.”

The firm is proposing a similar scheme in offices outside of London.

National firm Mills & Reeve has also announced a part-time working plan to prevent redundancies (9 February).

Staff in the corporate and private client group organised an initiative that saw six staff accept reductions in their working hours so that no one would need to be made redundant.