Ashurst has announced the introduction of a new global parental leave policy providing a minimum entitlement for all working parents regardless of the jurisdiction in which they are based.
The key aspects of the new policy include changing terminology to reflect the modern family, and recognising and accommodating all diversity and inclusion strands. For primary carer leave (commonly termed maternity leave), the carer will be entitled to a minimum of 18 weeks of full pay and if there is government funding, the firm will top this up to the equivalent of full pay. Primary carers will be entitled to take 52 weeks of leave, comprising 18 weeks paid and the remainder unpaid. For parental leave (commonly termed paternity leave), the parent will receive two weeks of full pay within the first eight weeks of the child’s arrival. This matches the entitlement in the UK, doubles the entitlement in Australia and in most other countries either significantly enhances what exists already or introduces paid leave for the first time. In the UK, partner parental leave (commonly termed shared parental leave) will increase from four weeks to a total of 18 weeks of paid leave, (reduced to 16 weeks where parental leave has already been taken). This matches what already happens in Australia and significantly, this paid leave can be taken at any point within 52 weeks of the child's arrival and does not require sharing with those on maternity leave.
For Ashurst partners, the new policy will see the introduction of partner parental leave globally, which allows for the secondary carer 18 weeks of distributions during the first 12 months following the arrival of a child. Where there is already a more generous provision in place, like in the UK where primary carers already receive 26 weeks at full pay or where the firm has secondary carer leave, shared parental policies already in place will remain. Commenting on the changes, Claire Townshend, Ashurst's head of hr for EMEA and US and global head, hr operations, said “This is a key example of our continued commitment to provide support and flexibility to all working parents and recognises the diversity of family life across all our offices and the many different routes to becoming a parent. It is an important step in creating a more inclusive workplace for everyone and supporting our working parents with their responsibilities as carers so they can thrive and develop in their careers.”