Post-pandemic shake out: 20% pay cut to work from home for staff at UK law firm

The firm also offers hybrid and full-time office options

The return to office has created new challenges and opportunities for companies and employees. Bloomberg
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A major London law firm is offering full-time remote working — but with a 20 per cent pay cut — as it looks at ways to keep staff in the post-Covid environment.

Senior managers at Stephenson Harwood are offering the package to lawyers, office staff and other employees as the firm navigates new staff expectations and work conditions.

The reduced pay is for staff who do not have commute expenses if they are working from home, but the company also offers hybrid and full-time office options.

Staff based at home also have lower expenses from socialising after work with colleagues.

“Like so many firms, we see value in being in the office together regularly, while also being able to offer our people flexibility”, a spokesman for Stephenson Harwood told the RollOnFriday law website, which first reported the deal.

“For the vast majority of our people — and the candidates we speak to — our hybrid working policy works well.”

The firm has extended remote-working options to existing staff, but also applies the salary difference between different categories, the firm said.

Only senior partners will not be allowed to work full-time remotely.

Junior lawyers start on salaries of £90,000, which means a reduction in pay of £18,000 for anyone taking up the offer.

“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”, the company spokesman said.

“[We] 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” .

Stephenson Harwood is based in London and has about 1,100 people working worldwide.

As the UK comes out of its Covid lockdowns, companies are deciding how they will best tackle new expectations from staff who have shown they can work remotely.

In January, some banks ended work-from-home initiatives but there remains more acceptance of remote work.

A study commissioned by Harvard Business School, found people who spent most of their time working from home, with a day or two at the office, performed best.

Updated: May 03, 2022, 11:41 AM