International firm Stephenson Harwood’s announcement last week that it will reduce salaries by 20% if staff choose to work from home full-time has made national news headlines. 

The firm’s UK-based staff who take up the offer will reportedly have to come in to the office once a month, but the firm said it will cover their travel and accommodation expenses.

Stephenson Harwood said all other staff ‘have the option to work remotely for up to two days a week, according to business need’, a policy it said works well for ‘the vast majority of our people and the candidates we speak to’.

The firm added that it had recruited lawyers who are based outside of London ‘for resourcing reasons during the pandemic’ – on salaries which were ‘different from what we offer our people in London’ – and has now ‘opened the option’ of full-time remote working to other members of staff.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘Like so many firms, we see value in being in the office together regularly, while also being able to offer our people flexibility.

‘For resourcing reasons during the pandemic, we recruited lawyers who weren’t based in London, but lived elsewhere in the UK. The packages we offered were different from what we offer our people in London. They’re fully remote and are not expected to regularly attend the office. If they are needed in the office, we cover their travel and accommodation expenses.

‘Recently we’ve opened the option to existing members of staff, so anyone interested in taking advantage of the additional flexibility offered by the package can have a conversation about whether it can work for their role.’


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