City firm Taylor Wessing has introduced a second wave of measures to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, reducing the hours and pay of its staff by up to a fifth.
Employees have been asked to sign up to a flexible work programme, which will see hours and salaries cut by up to 20%. The scheme is designed to make ‘proportionate cost reductions’ while preserving jobs.
The firm said its lowest earners will not be hit and reductions will be graduated to ensure cuts are ‘fair and proportionate’. Trainees will see an 8% reduction in hours and pay. The programme will begin on 1 June and last for six months.
Taylor Wessing has also delayed salary reviews until the autumn and reduced partner drawings by 20%. Last month, the firm announced it was furloughing staff impacted by the move to remote working and withholding partner pay outs. No redundancies are expected.
Managing partner Shane Gleghorn told the Gazette that the firm was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the future. ‘We would categorise ourselves as cautiously optimistic in the sense that we have a client base which, in many respects, is performing well in the remote working environment. We have acted for a number of clients who have been able to be successful in this period and they will make an important contribution to the regenerative process that will take place when the crisis dissipates,’ he said.
On criticism City firms have faced in relation to furloughing, Gleghorn said Taylor Wessing’s approach was ‘consistent with [its] peer group and done in consultation with the Law Society’. He added that only a ‘limited group’ of employees have been furloughed, and salaries are being topped up to 100%.
Staff at Taylor Wessing have yet to return to the office, but a business continuity team is developing a return to work protocol. 'As soon as we have clarity from the government about a more expansive return to work approach we will be ready to implement it,' Gleghorn said.
*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.