Ashurst to revamp bonus structure to include all staff

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Multinational law firm Ashurst is revamping its bonus structure to enable all staff to be eligible for bonus payments.

The firm’s existing bonus structure only awards its lawyers and non-legal business services staff who are at manager level or above, however the new changes will allow all global employees, including secretaries and non-managerial staff, to be eligible to receive bonuses.

In addition, Ashurst will amend the criteria that decides lawyers’ bonus pay. Here, the focus will move from using billable hours as a metric to instead concentrate on performance.

Although the changes have been approved at a high-level basis, the exact details of how the bonus scheme eligibility will work moving forwards have yet to be set. Once decided, this will need to be approved by the firm’s executive team.

The bonus scheme eligibility changes follow on from Ashurst publishing its gender pay gap data this month in line with the government’s gender pay gap reporting regulations and ahead of the private sector submission deadline of 4 April 2018.

The law firm reported a mean gender pay gap of 24.8% for fixed hourly pay, and a median gender pay gap of 32.7%. Its mean gender pay gap for bonuses paid during the reporting period is 64.4%, and the median gender pay gap for bonus pay is 60.2%. In this time frame, 34.1% of female employees were awarded a bonus compared to 44.3% of male employees.

Less than half (44%) of employees in the highest pay quartile at Ashurst are female, compared to 62% in the second quartile, 61% in the third quartile and 81% in the lowest pay quartile.

Claire Townshend, head of HR, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and US, said: “Driving and recognising high performance is critical to our business. We have responded to staff feedback and taken on board comments in reviewing our bonus structure. In consequence, eligibility for an annual bonus will be extended to all staff globally and for fee-earners, there will be a real focus on the wider role of the lawyer, not just chargeable hours. This will improve both performance and overall engagement in the business.”