Hogan Hartson LLP Above the Law blog.JPGBeefing up parental leave policies: everybody’s doing it. It may not be another pay raise, but it’s very welcome news for lawyers at large firms who are trying to balance Biglaw with Big Family (or contemplating such a move).
We’ve written in the past about new leave policies from Simpson Thacher, Latham & Watkins, Davis Polk, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Weil Gotshal. Today Hogan & Hartson joins the 18 Weeks Club.
Memo after the jump.


HOGAN & HARTSON — MEMORANDUM — CHILDBIRTH AND ADOPTION PAID LEAVE POLICY — JANUARY 2008
Childbirth and Adoption Paid Leave Policy – Attorneys and Exempt Employees
U.S. Offices
Summary
The firm provides paid leave to associates, counsel and other eligible exempt employees (as defined below) for childbirth and adoption. Under this policy, a birth mother who is a primary caregiver will be eligible for eighteen weeks of paid leave through a combination of medical, parental and primary caregiver leave. A father of a newborn child or domestic partner who assumes parental responsibility will be eligible for four weeks of paid parental leave, and up to an additional six weeks paid leave if the employee is the primary caregiver. An adoptive parent will be eligible for four weeks paid parental leave and up to an additional fourteen weeks of paid adoption leave if the parent is the child’s primary caregiver. /
Paid Medical Leave
Under the firm’s Short Term Disability (STD) Plan, birth mothers are eligible for paid medical leave for the period of disability associated with childbirth, but no less than eight consecutive weeks commencing on the date of childbirth. Longer periods will be available under the STD Plan to the extent consistent with medical documentation of disability.
Paid Parental and Primary Caregiver Leave
All new parents (including a domestic partner who assumes parental responsibility) will be eligible for four weeks of paid parental leave following birth or adoption of a child. If the parent of a newborn child is the primary caregiver (meaning the other parent is working full-time or does not reside in the home), the paid leave period will be extended up to an additional six weeks. Total paid parental/primary caregiver leave may be taken in up to two segments at any time during the eighteen weeks after childbirth.
Paid Adoption Leave
Under the firm’s Adoption Assistance Policy, an adoptive parent who is the primary caregiver (as defined above) will be eligible for up to fourteen weeks of paid adoption leave, in addition to the four weeks of paid parental leave described above. Paid parental/adoption leave may be taken in up to two segments at any time during the eighteen weeks after adoption (or placement with the parent if the adoption is pending). A parent through surrogacy may take paid leave on the same basis as an adoptive parent.
Vacation Time and Unpaid Leave
In conjunction with taking paid leave following birth of a child or adoption, an associate or counsel may also use available vacation time under the applicable vacation policy and/or may request an unpaid leave of absence. Vacation time taken in conjunction with paid leave related to childbirth or adoption will be treated the same as other vacation time for all purposes.
Key Contacts/More Information
Questions concerning these policies can be directed to the firm’s Benefits Manager or Benefits Coordinator. When paid leave is anticipated, associates or counsel should notify the firm’s Benefits Director or Coordinator, the relevant Practice Area Administrator, Practice Group Director and, outside the Washington, D.C. office, the Office Managing Partner, of the relevant dates in advance. Requests for unpaid leave and extensions of leave should also be coordinated with these individuals.
Eligible Employees
Eligible employees are associates, counsel and other exempt employees who:
• are normally eligible for the firm’s standard group benefits and are regularly employed in the firm’s domestic offices;
• who are eligible and approved for leave under the Firm’s Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Policy;
• who satisfy the criteria of the Adoption Assistance Policy, in cases of adoption;
• who are actively employed by the firm or on approved FMLA leave immediately before and after taking the paid leave provided by this policy; and
• in the case of married persons/domestic partners who are both employed at the firm, only one employee is eligible to receive the paid leave provided in this policy or the paid leave may be shared.
* * * *
As with all firm policies, this policy may be amended by the firm, and questions of interpretation or application of the policy will be resolved at the sole discretion of the firm.
January 2008


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