Apr 18, 2024 - News

Law firm rolls back parental leave

Illustration of a baby wearing a bib with a calendar on it with marked out days

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The global law firm DLA Piper, which has an Austin office with roughly 60 attorneys, is cutting by six weeks the amount of parental leave it offers non-partner lawyers and new parents who don't give birth.

Why it matters: Businesses almost never cut these benefits — most employers, especially law firms, have consistently expanded the amount of time off given to new parents for more than a decade.

The big picture: Employers don't always offer parental leave out of the goodness of their hearts.

  • They do it because leave is important for recruiting and retention, particularly of women.

Zoom out: The firm's pullback could signal a broader retrenchment in some of the big work-life benefit expansions that took hold in the hot labor market of 2022.

State of play: Starting in May, DLA Piper is cutting parental leave for many employees from 18 to 12 weeks — less than the 16-week average for most big law firms.

What they're saying: "As a law firm, our top priority is to provide consistent, exceptional client service," Geneva Dawn Youel, DLA's communications director, said in an email.

  • "We need to strike a balance of providing our lawyers competitive benefits while also ensuring that the firm has proper coverage of client matters."

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