CMS Cameron McKenna has launched a flexible working scheme and its first full  redundancy consultation as part of a package of measures to slash its wage bill.

At the start of its new financial year, the firm sent out an internal message warned staff that 20 lawyers and 60 support staff are likely to lose their jobs.

The second part of its new business plan is a reduced working scheme dubbed ‘Flex’, which allows staff take part-paid secondments, sabbaticals and four-day working. Partners are not being included but all other staff are being encouraged to sign up for the scheme.

Among the options being offered are: a fully funded executive training course at the IMD business schools over six months on 20 per cent of pay; ten-weeks spells with the Raleigh International charity on 20 per cent of pay; and six month sabbaticals with other members of the CMS alliance on 50 per cent of pay but with living costs paid.

Those who put themselves forward for Flex will be also eligible for four-day working at 85 per cent of pay or two week unpaid sabbaticals, both at the firm’s discretion.

A spokesman for the firm said the numbers on the secondment programmes would be limited but that places were open to all staff. Those who do not sign up to the scheme will not be ask to reduce their hours.

In an email to staff, Camerons managing partner Duncan Weston said partners would not be included in the programme, adding: “In fact, we want them to be working a 6-day week and no partner sabbaticals are currently being permitted.”

The firm is holding meetings for employees this week to lay out details of the plan.

Weston added that he did not expect salaries to increase when the firm reviews its rates this summer.

He urged staff: “Please consider very carefully the options presented by Flex and please help me to secure continued success for our firm during this difficult time by signing up to them all.”

Camerons recently reduced the number of equity partners by 12 per cent, after asking partners to put themselves forward for fixed share status. Sixteen equity partners volunteered to leave the lockstep, but their identities are not being revealed within the firm.