Slaughters to introduce associate sabbaticals

Slaughter and May has introduced sabbaticals and flexible working options for its associates as part of a major review of the firm’s employee benefits.

The changes mean associates will be able to take a four week paid sabbatical when they reach three years’ post-qualified experience (PQE).

They will also be able to work from home one day a week.

The move follows a year-long review of Slaughters’ employee rewards and benefits, led by a working group of partners and advisory company Willis Towers Watson.

The working group of partners included executive partner Richard Clark, his successor Paul Stacey, litigation partner Efstathios Michael and corporate finance partner Tim Pharoah.

This is understood to be one of the largest employee reviews ever undertaken by the firm, with an online survey canvassing the views of 84 per cent of staff.

One of the key points of the survey found that 95 per cent of associates believed the firm’s “no billable hours approach” should not be changed. A total of 86 per cent of support staff said it was also a key attraction to working at the firm.

As well as the introduction of sabbaticals and flexible working provisions, the firm has also increased the amount of holiday awarded to all staff to 30 days.

The firm has also boosted associate salaries by around eight to 10 per cent.

Newly-qualified lawyers will receive £78,000 instead of £71,500, while associates with one year PQE will pick up £87,000 instead of £79,000. The salary for lawyers with three years PQE has broken the £100,000 mark for the first time.

Trainee rates have not been changed, with the firm’s annual salary review expected to take place as usual next May. Last May, the firm bumped up its salaries for both trainees and associates by around 2 to 4 per cent.

Christmas bonuses of 3 per cent will be paid out to trainees, business services, PSLs, secretaries and paralegals at the end of this year. Associate bonuses will range from 9 to 16 per cent depending on PQE.

Following the review, Slaughters will look to introduce further benefits to its staff over 2017 including an onsite doctor. There will also be matching pension contributions for all staff under 25.