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Banco Chambers adopts new comprehensive parental leave policy

Banco Chambers is pleased to announce that on 30 July 2018 its members resolved to adopt a new comprehensive parental leave policy. Barristers have monthly overheads for their accommodation in chambers which they typically must continue to pay when they are on leave and not earning an income. Typically, a barrister must find another barrister to licence their accommodation who will take over the obligation to pay overheads. When a barrister returns from leave, they face the additional challenge of rebuilding their practice whilst continuing to pay overheads.

Banco Chambers has had a historical but informal practice of supporting our barristers in making parental leave arrangements and supporting their return to work. The newly implemented policy includes new and stronger measures to provide significant relief from costs, certainty and comfort for barristers contemplating taking parental leave, and a robust support structure for the return to work. The policy also further demonstrates Banco Chambers’ commitment to flexible approaches to work and a career at the Bar. Banco Chambers believes its new parental leave policy is amongst the most comprehensive policies of its kind in place at the NSW Bar.

Under the policy, a Banco Chambers’ member who takes a period of parental leave of at least 6 months and up to two years is entitled to licence their room to another barrister, subject to the usual approval procedures of the Chambers. If after making reasonable efforts a licensee has not been found, Banco Chambers will take responsibility for finding a licensee. If Banco Chambers is unable to find a suitable licensee, then the Chambers will absorb our barrister’s rent and clerk fee expenses for up to six months while they are on parental leave.

The policy includes a suite of measures to support the return to practice, including a commitment to making room sharing or door tenancy arrangements available. A Banco Chambers’ barrister returning to practice will also be paired with a silk or senior barrister in their practice area to assist with the re-establishment of their practice. The assistance can include offering space in their chambers to work from if they are working part time, mentoring or introductions to new solicitors.

Banco Chambers also has a number of barristers who licence their accommodation in Chambers. The policy also caters for licensees by permitting termination of a licence agreement on account of parental leave, making door tenancy arrangements available, and pairing with a silk or senior barrister in the licensee’s practice area for additional support and mentoring.

You can access a copy of the policy here