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Dentons four-day week gets go-ahead

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Staff vote in favour of move to curb financial impact of pandemic

Staff at the largest law firm in the world by lawyer headcount, Dentons, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of temporary measures which will allow some of them to drop down to a four-day working week.

The global outfit yesterday confirmed that 94% of staff across its UK and Middle East (UKME) offices had accepted the proposals, which consist of four-day weeks, or equivalent flexible hours, and a corresponding 20% cut in pay. It will run from June to December and applies to UKME staff only.

Partners will continue to work full working weeks, Dentons confirmed, however their distributions have been deferred and drawings reduced by 20% for six months.

Dentons UKME CEO, Jeremy Cohen, said: “These pre-emptive measures will protect our balance sheet whilst preserving our business for what we hope will be a busier period later in the year.”

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He added:

“Our aim is to come through this initial phase of the pandemic with the same sense of togetherness as we went into it, and the amazing level of support our people are showing both to the business and each other by signing up to these proposals says a lot about our firm.”

Dentons isn’t the first big City player to reduce the hours of staff in response to the pandemic.

Last month Norton Rose Fulbright confirmed staff had voted in favour of temporary measures which will see some of them work four days a week and take a 20% pay cut for one year. Meanwhile, Eversheds Sutherland rolled out a new ‘Flexing the Working Week’ scheme that allows it to temporarily reduce the working hours for certain teams as and when they become less busy.

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13 Comments

gimpmobile

So in other words, from now on they’ll work your full week on 80% pay. There, fixed it for you LC.

George

It will be hard to transition back once they implement a 4 day work week and see how much it improves productivity and allows for better work life balance

Frank

If lawyers want work life balance with decent pay they should work in regional firms if they’re not from London

Harry

Working in a city like Manchester or Birmingham for a firm like DLA, Hogan Lovells etc in their regional offices isn’t a bad shout tbf.

46k nq salary and you can afford a big house with the savings you have just a few years qualified

Sweat the assets, pay them peanuts

Cheers for perpetuating the long-debunked horsec*ck myth about regional firms somehow being a good deal. House prices soaring and pay raises completely moribund, it’s a race to the bottom.

Keep drinking the Koolaid little gimp, the regional partners love it.

Curious george

How is it a race to the bottom?

anon

Diminishing returns, rising costs, stagnant pay. Why bother if you can sweat it out for 200% higher pay in London?

Jamie

Nordic countries are the happiest because of the 4 day working week they have and the better working culture where they also get to have a life

Tony

So to confirm does 80 percent pay cut at Dentons still equal higher wedge than counterpart at CMS?

Wenny Parne

No, it’s a lot less now. Dentons pay ~75k at NQ as opposed to CMS’s 73k, but CMS didn’t officially announce any cuts yet.

Employee

Of course saying that staff “voted overwhelmingly” is just another way of saying that Dentons had their staff backed into a corner and very few people myself included felt like they actually had any real choice in the matter.

truthsiren

Precisely this: anyone who would dare vote against this measure would then be first in line to “get the treatment” (i.e. being promptly given the boot).

You are having a laugh

Dentons couldn’t run a bath let alone a redundancy process, or an employment case against an employee of the firm. Remember Bina Hale? More to come.

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