All parents are entitled regardless of their eligibility for government-paid leaves
K&L Gates has introduced a new family-friendly policy for its Australian offices, which includes 26 weeks of paid parental leave, expanded benefits for co-parents, and extended support to parents undergoing IVF and other fertility treatments.
The new 26-week policy is for primary carers of any gender, regardless of their eligibility for government-paid parental leave. In addition, superannuation payments are maintained during periods of paid and unpaid parental leave for up to 52 weeks.
This progressive move comes after K&L Gates conducted a thorough consultation with its people and market research within the legal profession and the corporate sector. Parents make up 35 percent of the firm’s staff in Australia.
Nick Nichola, managing partner of K&L Gates Australia, said these benefits are open to every new parent and are available upon commencement with the firm.
"This policy sends a critically important message to our people that it is a realistic expectation that you can continue along your career trajectory and plan a family at the same time,” Nichola said. “We have also removed the requirement of 12 months service with the firm – anyone seeking a career move and planning a family at the same time will have immediate access to these benefits."
The 26 weeks can be taken by parents on a flexible schedule over 18 months and is supported by the firm's Momentum Program, which guides employees on the cusp of promotion to maintain their career momentum while planning a period of parental leave.
"It is becoming more common for our employees to seek greater flexibility to enable them to better balance parental leave and their career during this important time,” Nichola said. “The stories we heard during the staff consultation process demonstrated every family circumstance is unique, so why not allow our staff to access the benefits in a way that best suits their family and meets them where they are at regarding their careers?"
Meanwhile, those who suffer from pregnancy loss after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy will also be eligible for the full 26 weeks of paid parental leave.