12 Feb 2020

Allen & Overy unveils enhanced parental leave provisions for UK and UAE

New package of measures is among most generous in Middle East, according to UK magic circle firm

Allen & Overy (A&O) has introduced enhanced parental leave measures in the UK and the UAE.

Dubai: A&O lays claim to launching one of most generous parental leave packages in the region Shutterstock

Allen & Overy (A&O) has introduced enhanced parental leave measures in the UK and the UAE.

The UK magic circle firm believes the measures, which include increasing paid paternity leave from two to 12 weeks, are among the most generous in the Middle East region.

The package, which comes into effect on 1 March, also includes additional time off for families whose baby is born prematurely or requires neonatal unit care and a fertility treatment leave policy which provides five days’ paid leave across a 12 month rolling period.

There are also enhanced adoption leave provisions for both prospective parents to attend meetings and appointments.

A&O, which has UAE offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, says the measures are the result of a  comprehensive review of its policies that included feedback gathered from across the firm through focus groups, interviews and questionnaires.

Global HR director Sasha Hardman 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.”

She added: "The new offering in the UAE is one of the most generous provisions in the region and demonstrates our commitment to supporting our people as they balance the demands of family and working life."

In the UAE women in private firms who have completed more than one year of continuous service are entitled to 45 days of full pay for maternity leave, although this includes weekends, according to the UAE-based Baby & Child website. There is no statutory entitlement to paternity leave.

A&O is the latest of a string of law firms to enhance their parental leave packages, including Ashurst, which introduced a new global policy last November, and Baker & McKenzie, which launched a new set of family leave measures in Mexico in May.