Employees of a city law firm have been told they can work from home permanently – but only if they take a 20% pay cut.
Stephenson Harwood employs over 1,100 people worldwide with offices in London Paris, Greece, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.
The firm has confirmed to The Independent that it would offer these employees the option of working from home full-time for reduced pay.
Industry reports put the starting salary of a newly qualified barrister working for Stephenson Harwood at £90,000, meaning he would stand to lose around £18,000.
A company spokesperson said junior employees were not the target of the policy and very few employees at any level were expected to take up the offer. He said the company’s hybrid work schedule — up to two days a week remotely — worked for most.
“For the vast majority of our employees – and the candidates we speak to – our hybrid work policy is working well. Like so many companies, we see the value of being in the office together on a regular basis, while being able to offer flexibility to our employees,” he added.
The reduced pay plan was for those who left expensive cities such as London to go wherever they wanted, the company said.
“For resource reasons during the pandemic, we recruited lawyers who were not based in London, but lived elsewhere in the UK.
“The packages we offered were different from what we offer our employees in London. They are entirely remote and not expected to come into the office regularly. If they are needed in the office, we cover their travel and accommodation costs.
Workers in London often receive what is known as a location bonus, meaning they get more for a job than they would elsewhere in the UK. Stephenson Harwood argues that workers leaving London could therefore work at a lower rate.
It is not known if the company is alone in this case. Last January, Income Data Research asked 29 companies that paid location bonuses whether they planned to change the bonus in light of the pandemic.
None of the companies said they did so at the time, but the work-from-home situation was difficult to predict then and remains so today.
Other law firms have tried to entice workers back into the office with treats. The temperature reported last week that another London firm, Hogan Lovells, had paid for a litter of puppies to be brought into its offices for two days.
The continuation of working from home has been criticized by the Prime Minister, who questioned last week whether employees were as productive when working from home.
Working from home is popular with employees, however, according to research from job board Indeed. And the national workforce has proven it can be more efficient with large numbers of people working from home, as productivity was higher in the last quarter of 2021 than the pre-pandemic average.
More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2022-05-02 21:59:53