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Embracing a freelance culture can help to address firms’ maternity cover challenges

Posted by: Laurence Simons 01/08/16
The legal profession hasn’t perhaps been synonymous with flexible working in the past, but it would appear that this is slowly beginning to change. Stats from 2015 showed that average paid maternity leave was 14.33 weeks and paid paternity leave was 6.3 weeks. Resultantly, there have been a growing number of magic circle firms creating greater freelance opportunities in recent months. Simple searches on job sites yield a number of 6-12 month maternity cover vacancies.

While much of this change is a result of increased demand from professionals themselves and firms’ recognition of the need to retain top talent, there are several benefits for companies. For instance, this this new approach can reduce the headache – and indeed result in a level of cost saving – when it comes to arranging maternity cover. With a network of freelance law professionals to tap in to, a firm will be better placed to fill a position when a member of staff goes off on parental leave with little, if any, disruption to day-today operations. And given the working environment that has already been created, there will be little need to on-board the cover that is put in place. Alongside this are boarder aims for firms to make their working life more appealing, with increased flexibility and work from home options, for those embarking on parenthood. As well as a number of paternity options.

Added to this, the opportunity to encourage more women in the profession to return to the firm following a period of maternity leave simply cannot be ignored by an industry that has long been plagued by gender imbalance. Providing a more flexible working option for new parents will certainly appeal to many who perhaps felt they would have to choose between their career and their family.
Tagged In: Legal careers
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