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Leading global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has launched a market-leading parental leave policy in Asia, allowing all employees in the region to share primary childcare responsibilities with their spouse or partner.

The new approach is available to all the firm's employees across its nine Asia offices. It supports all parents, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or other circumstances. 

"This is a significant advance for us and I am proud to be making this change, which will distinguish our reputation as a law firm of choice for working parents in Asia," said Justin D'Agostino, Asia Managing Partner.

“We believe this policy is among the very best in Asia in our sector. Making sure everyone has the chance to balance work and parenting is a vital part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion." 

The new parental leave policy is market leading and innovative:

  • It replaces 'maternity' and 'paternity' leave with leave allocations for 'primary' and 'secondary' carers, regardless of gender or sexuality.
  • It applies to all employees at all levels across our nine Asia offices.
  • It allows these leave allocations to be shared between spouses or partners.
  • It extends primary carer leave to 24 weeks, and secondary carer leave to three weeks, regardless of local statutory limits.
  • It applies equally to adoption and surrogacy.

The new policy is effective 1 May 2019 and is part of a suite of parental leave support offered to the firm's employees.  This suite includes coaching support, part-time working and a phased return to full-time work for returning parents. 

"Our new parental leave policy responds to our people's needs and changing regulations in Asia and around the world," said Asia head of human resources David Phillips.

"Working across Asia's borders is difficult for any employer, as we deal with a complex patchwork of employment laws and regulations. The new policy standardises and improves parental leave for our people, creating one simple policy for all."

Media contact

For further information on this article please contact

Sally Greig

Sally Greig, Head of Communications, Asia

Hong Kong