Law firms are behind the times?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Law firms are behind the times?
1
Mon, 07-29-2013 - 4:40pm

At least when it comes to maternity/paternity benefits according to the following article: 

Nonetheless, she said, “We hear very, very persistent reports that women return from maternity leave and find it very difficult to get work, even if they return to work full-time. If they return on a reduced schedule, the problem is sometimes even worse.” She added, “A not-uncommon pattern is for a woman to return, find herself unable to get enough billable hours, and then end up being let go.”

“Some of this is benevolent—‘Oh, I don't want to overload her,’” Williams explained. “Some of it is less benevolent.”

Read the complete article at: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/114026/why-big-law-firms-lag-behind-parental-leave#

Does anyone have first (or second) hand knowledge of how law firms treat pregnant employees?  Do you think that they are behind the times when it comes to family leave?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2002
Tue, 08-06-2013 - 7:42am

No, not behind the times.  Big city, well-paying law firms are notoriously conservative and change is slow.  But lawyers know the law ~ and under the law, pregnant workers are a protected class entitled to special treatment (the pg employee can't be denied raises, bonuses, promotions, etc. just because she's pregnant and even if her pg causes her to have a lot more drs apptmts, a need to put her feet up 12 out of 12 hours/day, a nap everyday, etc.)  Anyway, the same is not at all true with the mom and dad returning to work ~ moms and dads are not given special protections under the law.  I.e., family leave.  Family leave ~ at law firms obviously, mom and dad can take the full 90 days unpaid...but they pay the consequences if they don't meet billable hours.  Billable hours and disgruntled peers which no ambitious lawyer would want.

"Does anyone have first (or second) hand knowledge of how law firms treat pregnant employees?  Do you think that they are behind the times when it comes to family leave?"

When I was pregnant, I was treated really well.  I wouldn't have expected less.  No one foolishly asked about my pregnancy or the biggie ~ if I'd return to work.  It was like I wasn't even pg, as it should be.  My workload wasn't increased to force me out, my pay wasn't cut, my superiors and co-workers didn't shun me ~ all things commonly alleged in pregnancy discrimination lawsuits with companies and government employers.

Family leave ~ I took the full 3 months because I knew I wasn't returning to work (everyone else knew too!).  I had accrued 3 months pay (a generous policy at my employer) and gave notice a week before during a stroll around the various floors with my little cherub in a stroller. ;)