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Firm Announces Unlimited Gender-Neutral Paid Parental Leave

By George Khoury, Esq. on October 05, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The concept of unlimited paid vacation seems unbelievable, and confusing. But, as many firms are starting to realize, to get the best talent, you have to offer the best perks, and unlimited paid vacation is actually a thing now, but is it really better than a fixed amount of vacation time?

Taking the natural extension on that concept, Susman Godfrey LLP has announced that it will, in addition to offering unlimited paid vacation, also now offer unlimited paid parental leave for all associates. Notably, this is the first large law firm to offer such a generous parental leave policy, but it is not too surprising given the level of talent the firm is known to recruit.

The Unlimited Vacation Fallacy

Unfortunately, for many attorneys, the very idea of taking an extended vacation is a joke. Sure, a firm may offer unlimited vacation time, but really using it is another story entirely. And one that could result in reputational or even financial consequences, such as being on vacation during significant firm events, or missing an opportunity. You could also be merely getting a change of scenery, meaning that you can go wherever you want, but your responsibilities won't change, meaning your unlimited vacation is actually unlimited working vacation.

In most industries, the motivation behind offering unlimited vacation is surprising. It's almost expected that offering unlimited vacation, compared to generous, but limited, vacation benefits, will result in employees taking less time off

Limits on Unlimited

Interestingly, there are definitely anecdotes about employees abusing unlimited vacation policies, including some that have even taken other employment while on perpetual paid vacation. Even for firms like Susman, there are limits. Significantly, the unlimited parental leave policy there only applies to associates, and not any of the staff. Notably though, the firm does seem to be in line with other top firms when it comes to lack-luster parental leave policies for staff.

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