Global firm Ashurst launches holistic parental policy

The initiative includes time off for pregnancy loss

Global firm Ashurst launches holistic parental policy

Ashurst, a global law firm, yesterday (July 29) announced a new paid parental leave policy for all employees across 20 countries. Staff are now entitled to 26 weeks of fully paid leave, regardless of their gender. The entitlement goes beyond local legislations, like in Hong Kong and Singapore, where maternity leave is capped at 16 weeks and paternity, at two weeks.

The leave policy also covers a whole range of parental experiences, such as pregnancy loss, surrogacy, foster and kinship care. Staff who suffer pregnancy loss or have partners or surrogate mothers experience them can tap on two weeks paid leave, plus an additional five days for related appointments. Those who suffer a pregnancy loss after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy can access the 26 weeks paid leave entitlement.

Read more: Monzo introduces paid miscarriage leave

“Our commitment to supporting staff well-being will see us introduce a formal pregnancy loss policy,” said Andrea Bell, chief people officer at Ashurst. “We are committed to providing the most supportive environment that will enable our people to deal with the emotional and physical challenges that pregnancy loss brings.”

Ashurst is also offering five days of paid leave per year for anyone needing to go through fertility treatments. Upon their return to work, legal staff, such as lawyers and partners can ease into work as Ashurst will reduce their individual targets for a total of three months.

Read more: Why working dads need better support

Bell shared that they aim to build “tangible support” for staff to balance between building extraordinary careers while keeping family a priority. Additionally, removing gendered language from the policy was a deliberate decision to remove any distinctions or pressures between being a primary or secondary caregiver.

“Our global parental leave principles recognise the diversity of family life and establish consistent, market-leading support across all of our global offices,” Bell said. “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.”

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