Norton Rose Fulbright has updated its maternity and paternity policies, following a survey of all women who have taken maternity leave from the firm over the past five years.
The new policy, which went live on 1 May 2014, sees all London employees who have been at the firm for more than one year receive full pay for their 28-week maternity leave.
The initiative will replace the firm’s former maternity bonus system, which saw fee earners and senior support staff receive six weeks’ worth of full pay, followed by 12 weeks on half that amount, and 22 weeks on just a quarter. They also pocketed three lump sum return-to-work bonuses equal to four weeks’ full pay, meaning that maternity pay was equal to 29.5 weeks in total.
Non-managerial support staff formerly took home six weeks’ full pay, followed by 12 weeks on 50 per cent and a lump sum of six weeks’ full pay on return to work. They will now take home a bumper package of up to 10 weeks’ additional full pay.
Norton Rose Fulbright has also upgraded a raft of its other childcare policies, including upping paternity leave pay from one week to two weeks. Its adoption arrangements are now in line with maternity and paternity pay, and it has introduced new provisions for surrogacy arrangements and fertility treatment.
The raft of changes will see the firm establish a maternity group coaching programme, and regular workshops for managers with the aim of helping them to plan for working with both current and expectant parents.
The reforms were spearheaded by the firm’s diversity committee manager Sacha de Klerk, alongside corporate finance partner Maria Ross and competition and regulatory partner Peter Scott – all based in the firm’s City office.
De Klerk said of the changes: “We recognize that becoming a parent is a pivotal moment in both men and women’s personal and professional lives. We consulted with employees to find out what was important to them and wanted our new policies to respond to their needs.”