Cleary introduces “top of the market” maternity provisions in London

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has upped its maternity leave provisions by 50 per cent in a radical overhaul of its benefits package in London.

The US firm brought in a revised policy at the start of the year after benchmarking itself against law firms, banks and auditors.

All employees in the City will receive 30 weeks of full pay, whereas lawyers and support staff previously received 20 weeks paid leave.

There are no clawback provisions, although statutory pay is received for slightly less time than at some of Cleary’s peers. The firm offers nine weeks of statutory pay instead of the maximum allowed amount of 39 weeks.

The benchmarking exercise was led by finance partner Polina Lyadnova, who said: “We wanted to be at the top of market.”

She added that Cleary’s provision is not far off Accenture’s generous allowance of 32 weeks paid leave, which is understood to be the highest provision in the City.

Five employees in Cleary’s London office are currently benefiting from the firm’s enhanced maternity provisions – the majority of whom are associates.

It has not yet introduced any official provisions for shared parental leave, although Lyadnova said employees would be able to talk to partners if they were considering it as an option.

Cleary’s overhaul follows Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft’s recent maternity boost to 26 weeks paid leave.

Managing partner in London Greg Petrick said Cadwalader too had researched the market, finding many US firms offer between 18 to 20 weeks.

Weil Gotshal & Manges is one of the only other US firms to offer Cadwalader’s 26 weeks paid leave, matching it with shared parental leave and surrogacy leave pay.

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