Keeping pace with change: A&O becomes latest City firm to usher in parental leave reforms

Allen & Overy (A&O) has become the latest City firm to update its policies for working families, ushering in extensions to parental leave allowances.

The move will be a fillip for an industry still beset by out-dated policies and the ongoing battle to retain women into senior partnership.

The new policies include increased paternity leave from two to 12 weeks’ paid leave and new provisions for maternity and shared parental leave (SPL), including a phased return from maternity leave and SPL using accrued annual leave over an 8-week period.

They will take effect on 1 March 2020 and will initially be rolled out in the UK and UAE region, after the Magic Circle firm undertook a review and consultations.

The policies also allow for additional time off work for families whose baby is born prematurely or requires neonatal unit care, as well as a fertility treatment leave policy which provides five days’ paid leave over a 12-month rolling period for fertility treatment.

In addition, the firm has rebooted its adoption leave policies for both prospective parents to attend meetings and appointments in addition to eligibility for all parental leave entitlements.

After the rollout in the UK and UAE, other regions of the A&O network are expected to follow suit.

Sasha Hardman, A&O’s global HR director, said: ‘The face of family life is changing so we have listened to what’s important to our people to make sure we’re keeping pace with change. We want to make it clear that you can have a family and build a successful career at A&O.  There is more support, flexibility and encouragement to do this than ever.’

Ashurst last November took steps to modernise its parental leave models and the following month Linklaters announced that parental leave extended to 12 months would come into play in January.

This article first appeared on Legal Business.