Minister visits Maclay Murray & Spens LLP to see law firm’s groundbreaking flexible working practices in action
Scotland’s Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn MSP, has visited the offices of commercial law firm Maclay Murray & Spens LLP (MMS) to see at first hand the benefits of flexible working.
Around a third of MMS’ workforce uses flexible working patterns, including some partners and directors, allowing them to fit family and other commitments into their working lives. The firm became one of the first organisations to adopt Working Families’ new ‘happy to talk flexible working’ strapline on job adverts in 2015, and has been a finalist in the Scottish Top Employers for Working Families Awards two years’ running.
Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “Thousands of parents and carers across Scotland face barriers to work. Not only is flexible working vital for Scotland’s workforce, but also for a stronger and healthier society and economy.
“This government is committed to promoting fair and flexible working practices, including positive action on pregnancy and maternity discrimination and tackling the gender pay gap, allowing more people to take advantage of family-friendly working practices and workplaces.
“I would like to congratulate Maclay Murray & Spens LLP on their dedication to flexible working and demonstrating that these practices can be good for people and good for business.”
Amanda Jones, partner and head of the employment, pensions and immigration practice with MMS and a long-standing champion of flexible working, said: “Flexible and agile working practices are an important part of the modern workplace, allowing all kinds of people to offer valuable contributions to the economy while also fulfilling other roles in society. It is an excellent way to tackle discrimination and promote diversity in the workforce because it allows parents to meet their childcare commitments without being singled out for special treatment.
“Having led the way on flexible family working in Scotland for several years, we have found that it can also be of benefit to the firm, as it allows us to attract and retain the best talent available, with many people now actively seeking out employers who are prepared to support their life choices and help them work in a way that suits them best.
“The key to successfully implementing flexible working is to focus on outcomes rather than hours in the office, an approach that can also pay dividends in terms of productivity.”
MMS staff are encouraged to discuss their need for flexible basis with their employer on a personal basis. The approach has led to a wide variety of arrangements, from a mother who has annualised her part-time hours to allow her to be at home in the school holidays, to a partner who fits his commercial work at MMS around a second role as an employment judge.
Amanda added: “Allowing more flexible hours and home-working requires active management, but for us it has paid dividends in terms of building a happy, productive and diversely experienced team, which can itself adapt to the needs of clients who don’t always want their service to be limited to UK office hours.”