The Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) offices of Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) are offering lawyers the chance to reduce their working week by 20 percent in return for an up to 20 percent cut in base pay.

The approach is similar to a flexible working programme – Flex – that the firm adopted during the Global Financial Crisis of 2009. The current scheme, which has been instituted in response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, will commence on Apr. 20 and run for a period of one year. Lawyers are free to sign up at any point during the year.

According to NRF, participation in the programme is voluntary and employee benefits will remain unaffected. It added that for people at the lower end of the salary spectrum, pay reductions will be on a tapered basis from 20 to 5 percent.

Besides this, NRF will also cancel bonuses and salary raises for staff, and defer the payment of partner distributions in April. Additionally, all non-business critical spend will be reduced or deferred for the foreseeable future.

“We know this is a challenging time for all of our people and we want to safeguard jobs as far as possible,” said Peter Scott, EMEA managing partner. “It is likely that not all parts of the business will be adversely affected by the current situation, so it is quite possible that employees who have signed up to the scheme in some parts of the business will not be required to reduce their working hours.”


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