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Major study reveals increased risk areas for legal sector employees

The Modern Families Index delves into the realities faced by UK working parents, including those in the legal sector.

The annual Modern Families Index* has surveyed 3,000 randomly selected UK working parents including 240 legal professionals.

Key findings of the UK Modern Families Index Legal Sector Report 2024 include:

  • Legal sector parents in this study were 47% more likely to also be caring for adult dependants than the overall survey population. Over half (53%) of the working parents surveyed in the legal sector also identified as adult carers, vs. 36% in the overall survey.
  • Working carers of adults in the legal sector have a worrying flight risk of 45%.
  • There is a higher risk of productivity being impacted by childcare breakdowns in the legal sector: over three-quarters (76%) of this 60/40 male/female sample needed to take at least one day off for childcare reasons in the last year (vs 67% in the survey overall). Unless they have some back-up care provision in place, many use up annual leave on these short notice needs.
  • The overall risk of working parents seeking a new employer in the next 12 months is lower in the legal sector (34%) than the overall average (42%). However, it is still a concern, standing at over a third.
  • Pet care is more top of mind in the legal sector than elsewhere. Among law firm employees who work flexibly, 14% do so for pet care reasons vs 12% in the overall survey.

In addition, this year, results from the UK MFI show that legal sector employees have lost some confidence in their employers. While just over two-thirds (69%) of parents in the legal sector say their employer is supportive of family life, this is markedly below the legal sector perception in 2023 (84%) and lower than the overall survey population (72%).

Compared to last year, where the positivity towards legal sector employers was growing, this year’s results show employees’ perception is levelling with the average and is notably less than the average when assessing employer support for family life.

Jennifer Liston-Smith, Head of Thought Leadership at Bright Horizons, comments: “Law firm employers looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors should make their family-friendly benefits wide-ranging to cover different life stages and responsibilities and clearly visible, including at the recruitment stage.

“The ability to use annual leave for rest and recuperation as well as building family memories together is critical, and it’s concerning to see so many working parents and carers resorting to using up their annual leave at short notice to manage child and elder care arrangements.”

*Report from BrightHorizons

Modern Families Index Legal Sector Report 2024

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