Fieldfisher has told its staff to take 25% of their annual leave between now and the end of June, as the firm readies itself for a spike in annual leave requests in the second half of the year, according to people close to the situation.
It comes amid a lockdown in the U.K. during which travel is heavily restricted. The move includes all staff, including lawyers, according to a person close to the situation.
The 25% request equates to an average of six days per member of staff, the person said.
“We have to be tough and take a stand,” a partner at the firm said, adding that the firm was concerned about spikes in annual leave requests in August and into Autumn.
It comes as a large number of staff in the legal industry cancel their Easter holidays due to travel restrictions amid the government-imposed lockdown, according to a number of people Law.com International’s Legal Week spoke to, meaning many will have accrued large amounts of annual leave.
One corporate partner at a U.S. law firm told Legal Week: “When this is all over, everyone’s going to want to go on holiday at around the same time, especially if it’s summer by that point.
“So how are firms going to manage that? It’s going to be really problematic for them figuring that out.”
A number of firms have introduced measures to mitigate the financial damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, Legal Week reported that Allen & Overy was to hold a cash call with partners, cut partner pay-outs and freeze associate pay.
Reed Smith is also reducing partner distributions in response to the disruption and economic effects of the new coronavirus.