Newbury: Law firm lets staff take ‘as much holiday as they want’

Gardner Leader, based in Berkshire and London, has followed in the footsteps of major household brands such as Netflix and Virgin Group by launching an unlimited paid holiday policy to all its 135 staff.

Unlimited paid holiday has become an increasingly popular perk particularly among high-profile firms with organisations like Netflix, Virgin Group, Glassdoor, Kronos and Songkick, announcing their policies last year.

Gardner Leader is following suit by rolling out its new flexible paid holiday policy across its four offices in Newbury, Thatcham, Maidenhead and London, after a successful 12-month trial which staff described as a real sign of the firm’s trust and respect for its employees.

Derek Rodgers, managing partner at Gardner Leader said: “Our new unlimited holiday policy has been extremely positive for both the firm and workforce.

“Any planned absence still needs line manager approval with arrangements made for work to be covered during this absence. But the scheme empowers our great team of people to take as much leave as they feel they need, as and when they need it, as opposed to imposing arbitrary limits. This is great for employee welfare and motivation, creating a place that attracts the best talent and where people enjoy working.

“The firm has grown considerably in the last few years so we’re always looking at new and different ways of being flexible and inclusive to support our diverse and progressive workplace culture.”

In 2018 Gardner Leader became one of the first law firms in Berkshire to launch its own ‘Back to Law’ programme. The programme helped lawyers get back into private practice after a career break and regain their confidence and skills.

The firm has also recently launched a wellbeing committee that looks at all aspects of wellbeing including social, environmental, food, finance, fitness, mental health, community engagement and CSR. The group organises activities, signposts relevant information and arranges training that supports employees at home and work. Recent training includes becoming a Dementia Friend, tips on managing finances from a Chartered Financial Planner, and guidance from LawCare on mental health and wellbeing support for those in the legal profession.

Gardner Leader has also appointed two individual staff members as wellbeing champions who are trained in mental health first aid, available to any employees who would like to talk in confidence. And launched a learning academy and mentoring scheme to encourage and assist all staff in enhancing their performance and reaching their potential.