Parental leave policy updates have made their way to Wall Street.
In an email to attorneys and staff Wednesday, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson announced that it will now provide at least 12 weeks of paid parental leave for its attorneys and business service personnel and is doing away with primary and secondary caregiver designations.
Previously, Fried Frank’s gender-neutral parental leave policy allotted for five weeks of paid leave, with primary caregivers receiving an additional five weeks of leave over the first 12 months of a child’s arrival. Birthing mothers also qualified for eight weeks of disability coverage.
Under the new policy, which will officially take effect Jan. 1, 2019, birthing mothers still qualify for disability coverage, resulting in up to 22 weeks of paid leave.
In addition to its expanded parental leave policy, the firm is also extending the “new” New York Paid Family Leave Law protections to its employees in its Washington, D.C., office, which beginning next year increases the minimum paid leave for eligible employees to 10 weeks in a 52-week period.
“I think we had a recognition that there could be more done to help people with these important life cycle events,” said Fried Frank’s chairman, David Greenwald.
Parents today want to be able to spend more time at home with their new child early in its life, which may have changed from expectations a generation or two ago, Greenwald said. And businesses, including law firms, have responded by creating more generous policies, he added.
In recent months, several law firms have made changes and updates to their existing parental leave policies to support new parents.
Dechert announced that it would no longer distinguish between primary and secondary caregivers in a new policy that allows for at least 12 weeks of paid leave for all of its U.S. employees. Susman Godfrey announced a policy of unlimited paid parental leave for its associates, regardless of gender or caregiver status.
Earlier this month, Fenwick & West announced it was expanding its parental leave policy to 16 weeks of paid leave for its attorneys and professional staff.
“We’re in a people business,” said Greenwald, who became Fried Frank’s sole chairman in 2014, a year after rejoining the firm from Goldman Sachs.
“Everything is about people, [and] we’re looking to recruit, retain, develop and promote the best people that we possibly can,” he said.