The landmark policy of 26 weeks of fully paid leave includes pregnancy loss and applies globally irrespective of gender identity
The UK-based global law firm Ashurst has announced a revolutionary parental policy to enable its staff to raise families.
Going beyond maternity leave, the firm has announced support to working parents regardless of their gender under which the firm's lawyers and staff would be entitled to 26 weeks of fully paid leave. Legal staff will also have a three-month reduction in 'chargeable' hours targets when they return to work.
The new parental policy has pregnancy loss provisions that offer two weeks of paid leave for anyone who suffers a pregnancy loss whether it happens directly to them, their partner, or their surrogate mother, plus an additional five days for related appointments. Those who experience pregnancy loss after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy will have access to the full 26 weeks of paid leave entitlements.
Ashurst has further said that it will be removing gendered language so there is no distinction between primary and secondary parents or maternity and paternity. Finally, the policy encompasses surrogacy, foster and kinship care.
"Our global parental leave principles recognise the diversity of family life and establish consistent, market-leading support across all of our global offices. This represents a significant enhancement to our existing policies and reflects how we want to ensure that our people get the right level of support," Andrea Bell, chief people officer at Ashurst, said.
Paul Jenkins, Ashurst's global managing partner, added: "As a global law firm we want to ensure that all our people have access to a globally consistent standard of support. Introducing this progressive new package of measures for our working parents is a key step in that."
The new parental policy would apply to the firm's lawyers and staff located in all its 27 offices spread across 15 countries.
The removal of gendered language and the policy's viability regardless of gender seek to address the issue of unequal distribution of paid leave for men and non-traditional families.
Ashurst's pregnancy loss leave is seen as unusual considering at present very few firms offer such provisions under their parental leave policies.