Law firm CMS has enhanced its paid maternity and shared parental leave packages for over 2,000 UK staff.
Its enhanced maternity policy now allows new mothers to take 26 weeks of leave on full pay, followed by 13 weeks of leave on statutory pay. Previously, the firm offered 10 weeks of leave on full pay, followed by 16 weeks of leave on half pay.
The 13 weeks of leave on statutory pay has also been applied to the organisation’s shared parental leave arrangements.
The enhanced policy also enables new mothers to apply for an extended period of unpaid leave then their maternity leave ends. This enables parents to take longer than 12 months off work to care for their child if they wish. CMS has also removed a ‘claw back’ provision from its former maternity policy, which stipulated that mothers who chose not to return to work after 12 months had to repay some of their maternity pay.
To support the enhanced maternity and shared parental policies, the organisation has also implemented a maternity coaching programme to help employees manage the transition to becoming a working parent.
The new parental leave arrangements are part of a policy alignment exercise following the merger of CMS with Nabarro and Olswang in May 2017.
Penelope Warne, UK chair and senior partner at CMS, said: “Most businesses and most law firms require people returning to work to come back after 12 months, and if [they] don’t, [their] job can’t be guaranteed. We have changed that bit. Although [they’re] not being paid, there’s flexibility about welcoming [employees] back after 15 months, 18 months, or two years.
“There’s no maximum time limit. What we are saying is we want to support our women in the business and I think that’s a very important thing. We are very supportive of paternity leave as well. Whether male, female, straight, gay, [an employee’s] own child or adopted; all equally benefit.”