International firm Taylor Wessing is relaxing its coronavirus measures as the City braces itself for a second national lockdown.
The firm introduced a ‘flexible hours programme’ in the spring, which reduced hours and salaries by up to 20%. It also delayed pay reviews, furloughed staff, withheld partner profit distributions, and reduced partner drawings by a fifth.
However, hours and salaries have now been restored to their former levels across all parts of the business in response to client demand, and pay reviews have been reinstated. Partners will also receive a part-distribution of the 2019-20 profits and monthly drawings will be restored to 100%.
A ‘relatively small’ group of employees including catering staff remain off work but continue to receive full pay. A 'voluntary leavers programme' will also be available for them. Taylor Wessing said it will not make use of the extended furlough scheme announced by the government on Saturday.
The firm has yet to decide whether to repay the money it received under the original job retention scheme. UK managing partner Shane Gleghorn told that Gazette: ‘We certainly fall into the category of organisation which has this point under discussion. We are therefore encouraged by the level of client demand, but we need a clearer understanding of how the pandemic will impact on the global economy – and by extension our business. Once we have some clarity in that respect we will make a decision.’
Gleghorn added that the firm has no redundancies planned. 'It has been hugely impressive to see how everyone in our firm has responded to the challenges and their teamwork and creativity has been apparent during this period. The decision to remove some of the measures that we had put in place reflects client demand across many areas and the confidence in our strategy which has flexed well to deal with the pandemic,' he said.
International firm Ashurst has also reinstated salary reviews and will roll out its second tranche of bonuses this month. Partners are expected to receive their monthly drawings in full by the end of the year, after sums were cut by 20% in the spring.
*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.