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Paul Hastings Expands Paid Parental Leave for U.S. Employees (1)

June 18, 2019, 7:17 PMUpdated: June 18, 2019, 8:30 PM

Paul Hastings has become the latest Big Law firm to boost parental leave with the announcement that it will now allow 14 weeks of paid leave for its attorneys and staff in the U.S., plus more time off for birthing parents.

The new policy, which goes into effect on July 1, creates a level playing field for Paul Hastings attorneys and staff. Both types of employee will receive the same benefit of nearly three and half months of paid leave. Parents can use their leave all at once or intermittently within a year of a birth, adoption or foster placement.

In addition to the 14 weeks of paid leave, birthing parents are eligible for up to eight weeks of childbirth recovery, totaling up to 22 weeks of paid leave. Birthing parents can use the paid time at any point in their pregnancy.

“This policy is a key example of our continued commitment to provide support and flexibility for all of our working parents, during one of the most significant moments of their lives,” said managing partner of Paul Hastings and co-chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee Greg Nitzkowski in a statement.

“An inclusive culture allows all of our people to thrive personally and professionally, making us stronger for our clients and each other,” he said.

Prior to these changes, birthing attorneys were given 18 weeks of paid leave, while staff who had given birth were given 12 weeks of leave. Non-birthing attorneys and staff were given six weeks of leave, with four additional weeks allotted for primary caregiving attorneys.

Several other law firms have made generous changes to their parental leave policies over the last year.

Dechert changed its policy for its U.S. employees to provide for at least 12 weeks of paid leave. Fenwick & West also revamped its policy, allotting for 16 weeks of paid leave for its professional staff and attorneys.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson abandoned its caregiver designations and changed its policy to allow for 12 weeks of paid leave for its lawyers and business service personnel. And earlier this year Barnes & Thornburg announced it would provide 16 weeks of paid parental leave to all of the firm’s employees.

Back in October 2018, litigation boutique Susman & Godfrey set a new high bar with the announcement that all associates will receive unlimited paid parental leave.

(Updated to include former parental leave policy details in paragraph six)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com