City firm Norton Rose Fulbright has asked staff to agree to reduced work loads and lower salaries and has deferred pay rises and bonuses in an attempt to ‘safeguard jobs as far as possible’.
In measures last imposed during the global financial crisis, staff who sign up to the ‘flexible working programme’ may be asked to reduce their working week by 20% and be paid 80% of their base salary. Staff on lower pay will see smaller salary reductions, although their working week may still be cut by a fifth.
The firm said the scheme will last for a year – starting on 20 April – and participation is voluntary. Three quarters of eligible staff need to sign up to make the programme economically viable.
Norton Rose Fulbright will also defer the payment of partner distributions and bonuses and will postpone salary rises and bonus payments for staff. All non-business critical spend will be reduced or deferred ‘for the foreseeable future’.
Peter Scott, managing partner for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: ‘We believe it is prudent to take pre-emptive action to protect our people and our business. The key for us is to ensure that we can respond rapidly to any future changes in levels and types of work at an unprecedented time for the global economy.
‘We know this is a challenging time for all of our people and we want to safeguard jobs as far as possible. It is likely that not all parts of the business will be adversely affected by the current situation, so it is quite possible that employees who have signed up to the scheme in some parts of the business will not be required to reduce their working hours.’
*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.