Working Families Benchmark 2021: Pinsent Masons Retains Top 10 Spot
By Abigail Crane
For the fifth consecutive year, Pinsent Masons has been recognised by work-life balance charity, Working Families, as being among the top 10 employers for parents and carers.
The Working Families Benchmark assessed employers against four key areas to discern their flexible, family-friendly practices, including:
culture, policy, consistent practice, and evidence and statistics.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic saw the number of the UK’s adult population working from home rise from 6% to 60% at the height of lockdown, the extent to which these workplaces create a family-friendly workplace is dependent on far more than where you set up your laptop.
Pinsent Masons Supporting Working Families
A firm’s culture and policies play a critically important role in ensuring parents and carers feel supported by their employers. CEO of Working Families, Jane van Zyl, states, “…more and more employers realise just how vital it is to offer flexible, family friendly policies and a positive, inclusive culture to attract the most diverse talent.”
Alongside Pinsent Masons’ celebrated progress in creating a supportive, family-friendly workplace through its Global Carers Policy, and supportive practices, Pinsent Masons Vario provides lawyers with the opportunity to make their work fit their lives with freedom and flexibility. Experienced Vario lawyer, Greer Epton, discusses the benefits of freelance working as a parent:
Case Study: Freelance as a Compatibly and Fulfilling Career Path for Lawyers
After five years in a previous role as an in-house lawyer for a large defence company, Greer Epton was ready for a new challenge in her career. Greer Epton is a Freelance Senior Lawyer with Vario and parent to an eight year old son.
“One of the biggest challenges as a working parent is how to deal with the school run. If I had still been a private practice lawyer in a city firm an hour’s commute away, I would have been unable to manage this, even if my son had gone to after-school club until 6pm. Sometimes the deals require you to work late or travel away from home. Thankfully, whilst I have been a parent, I have been able to benefit from flexible working to enable me to do a hard day’s work, yet still have time to be a mum too.”
During the first lockdown, announced on 23 March 2020, 77% of parents with a school-aged child said they home-schooled their child. This percentage rising to 90% of parents home-schooling during the second lockdown. The ONS reports that over a third of working parents found that home-educating during lockdown had a negative impact on their jobs.
For Greer Epton, the first lockdown commenced just as she completed on a six-month assignment working as in-house Corporate Counsel within a client’s offices. Due to the flexible nature of freelance work, she had the freedom to take a pause in her work to support her son, who was in Year 2, in his home studies. “It was stressful, but we made it fun! I was thankful that I didn’t have to juggle home-working too. Vario gave me the flexibility to take some time out.” At the point of the second lockdown, Greer was working remotely for the Pinsent Masons TMT London team. “I was able to set my son up with a desk next to mine. Some of the clients I was working with where in the same situation, and one lady in America was keen to say, “Hello” and waved at my son! After that, he wanted to wave hello to everyone so I had to remind him that this was serious work!”
Thanks to the flexibility of freelancing for Pinsent Masons Vario, Greer has been able to have her career fit her life. While basing herself in her home office in a village in the North West of England, she has been involved in significant projects with the Pinsent Masons TMT London team.
Part-time, flexible positions are difficult to find and in high demand for many parents and carers. For Greer, a career as a freelance lawyer through Vario provides the flexibility to accommodate school holidays, help with homework and just have a bit more breathing space to catch up on life admin. Usually working a four-day week, Greer was able to reduce this to three days over the summer holidays so she could spend more quality time with her son.