Action Step -Truly Inclusive Flexible Work and Leave Policies Must Include Staff

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

Many organizations offer vastly different flex and leave benefits to employees at different levels of seniority and with different responsibilities. For example, at a number of law firms, attorneys have access to better flexibility and leave policies than professional staff. Given the integral role that staff plays at companies and firms, we recommend that organizations make their formal flex and leave policies more widely available to staff in order to promote higher satisfaction and retention rates. While the flex work types offered should reflect the diverse needs of staff and may differ from those offered to other professionals, providing flexibility to all employees is important to realizing your organization’s inclusion objectives.

The results of our 2017 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey, which tracks workplace flexibility in law firms, show there has been little progress on closing the gap between the level of formal flex and leave policies offered to staff as compared to attorneys. While nearly all participating firms (94% of this year’s respondents) have a flex policy for attorneys, only 16.7% of participating firms report having a flex policy for staff. It’s worth noting the difference between firms offering paid gender-neutral leave to attorneys (89% of firms surveyed), as compared to firms offering paid gender-neutral leave to all staff (61% of firms surveyed). Of the firms surveyed, 22% do not offer any paid parental leave for staff.

These results serve as a good reminder to make sure your flex and leave policies are inclusive of all employees. Here are some ways to reduce the disparity in flex and leave benefits among employees…

To learn more about creating an inclusive flexible work policy, become a member of the Alliance and access our Member Resource Center.