US law firm Downs Rachlin Martin introduces paid parental leave

US-based law firm Downs Rachlin Martin (DRM) has introduced a new paid parental leave policy, enabling parents to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for their newborn.

Eligible birth mothers are able to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave when combining the new parental leave policy with the organisation’s existing short-term disability programme. Fathers and partners of birth mothers can take up to six weeks of paid leave. Employees who are parents of adopted children aged 16 years old and under are entitled to six weeks of paid leave under the new policy.

The policy is available to both full-time and part-time employees. Staff must have 12 months’ consecutive service to qualify for the benefit. Full-time employees will receive up to 100% of their regular weekly pay and part-time employees will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

The new parental leave policy will run alongside the law firm’s current benefits, which include matching contributions to a 401(k) individual retirement savings plan, dental, life and disability insurance, subsidised medical insurance and medical savings accounts, wellness benefits, personal financial planning assistance, an employee assistance programme (EAP), and employer contributions to a profit sharing plan.

Peter Kunin (pictured), deputy managing partner at DRM, said: “A paid family leave policy is the right thing to do for our employees and their young children, and makes sense for our business. It is well known that a parent’s ability to personally care for their children, especially newborns, is critical to the healthy development of children and families.

Parents should not have to choose between spending time with their new baby and economic security. And by giving our employees time to settle in to life as a new family, our employees are better able to focus on the needs of our clients with the level of intensity that the job demands.

“Our primary asset here at the firm is our people. We want to hire and retain the best and most dedicated attorneys and staff. This paid parental leave policy says to all of our employees that we want to invest in [them]. We want [them] to settle in and develop [their] professional life in a way that does not compromise [their] family life. That security and satisfaction, we think, will also provide enormous benefits to our clients and to the long run sustainability of our firm.”