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06 Jun 2022

Stephenson Harwood introduces carers policy

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Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has introduced a global carers policy. Aimed at supporting colleagues – irrespective of role, location or length of service – with caring responsibilities, the policy has been designed to offer a raft of additional help.

"As part of our Deal – the internal promise between the firm and our people – we have been working on a number of policies which support pathways to parenthood, and broader family friendly policies," said Jeff Marlow, chief people and talent officer, Stephenson Harwood. "We know that most people will experience at least one episode of unpaid caring in their lives, whether in relation to disabled, elderly or sick partners, relatives, children or friends. That's why we wanted to lay out, upfront, what support our people can expect, and why it was so important to us that we have a generous policy which reflects the real needs of those colleagues who have these responsibilities."

The policy outlines a range of support for carers, including: six days of paid leave, and six of unpaid leave; flexible working options; career breaks; and information regarding wellbeing services. While the general premise of the policy is global, there are certain aspects which are specific to an office or region. For example, in the UK, there is a back-up adult/eldercare scheme, which provides such support as: care when recuperating; domiciliary and companion care; in-home support, running errands or assisting with hospital visits and medical appointments.

"This policy matters because it shows our people that we are committed to supporting them throughout whatever life circumstances they face, whether in practical terms, or just by being compassionate and understanding," said Stephen Richards, sponsor partner. "And I know how important that is. I have caring responsibilities beyond those usually experienced by parents, and understand how vital it is to have real flexibility. That means having something which goes further than more traditional, prescriptive options – including appreciating that caring responsibilities aren't linear, and allowing people to adjust their working patterns at short-notice, in recognition that their home lives may involve demands on them which can't be easily predicted. And it makes good business sense. If you ask your people to choose between their family and their career, you're never going to win: family will always come first. We want to retain our top talent, and being flexible, compassionate, and responsible, is key to our ability to do this. That's why I'm so pleased to see this policy launched, and to advocate for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation – whether with their children, parents, other relatives or friends."

The policy forms part of Stephenson Harwood's 'Deal', the internal promise between the firm and its people of what each gives the other, and expects in return. 

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Stephen Richards

Stephen Richards
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