The New Zealand branch of global law firm DLA Piper will now pay staff their full pay, after they agreed to reductions in April due to Covid-19.
Country managing partner Martin Wiseman told more than 100 staff on Monday in a virtual town hall meeting that things were actually going better than previously thought.
Last month, senior management and lawyers at the firm had agreed to pay cuts of up to 30 per cent and non-legal staff were reduced to three- or four-day weeks until July 31. The aim was to avoid redundancies due to Covid-19, which the firm has achieved to date.
BusinessDesk understands some staff felt that the three working days formal consultation period in April for the original proposal was too short, but Wiseman said "practically it stretched out to over a week". He noted the firm got 100 per cent agreement for the deal.
On Monday, Wiseman said May billings and collections exceeded expectations, so the board undertook an early review and decided to reimburse salary reductions. The lawyer would not be drawn on how much that worked out to be in total, saying "the number is not relevant to the fact we are making everyone 100 per cent whole".
In addition, everyone at the firm will go back to their full working hours on June 15.
Having made a u-turn, Wiseman said the firm did not regret the original decision.
"We needed to look after our people, our clients and our NZ business in very uncertain times."
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The firm's 26 partners are still taking reduced drawings as a precaution, Wiseman said.
The law firm said it was not eligible to take the wage subsidy and Wiseman has said it wouldn't have even if it could.
In a move that generated angst amongst the legal fraternity, Bell Gully, Simpson Grierson and MinterEllisonRuddWatts all took the wage subsidy for a combined $6.2 million. However, on May 6 those firms told media they had reversed their positions. At the time the firms said they had not cut staff hours or pay.