On June 25, 2020, Morrison & Foerster Chair Larren Nashelsky signed the “Invest In Parents Pledge” on behalf of the firm, being coordinated by Cleo—a startup dedicated to offering tailor-made family benefits for working parents. To date, over 50 organizations and firms have signed the pledge, including a number of MoFo clients. By taking the pledge, the firm has vowed to take action to protect and invest in working parents who have been impacted by COVID-19—particularly working mothers—and help them remain and thrive in the workforce.
The pledge was co-created by working family advocates and family-forward organizations, including parenting company Happiest Baby; The Mom Project, which supports businesses hiring and retaining women; and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States), a campaign to win family leave in the United States. Their plan of action includes raising awareness among employers, publishing a set of policy and workforce recommendations, and launching a series of virtual roundtables and a task force to tackle the challenges that arise for working mothers as they navigate the different stages of the pandemic.
According to a recent ParentsTogether survey, more than 50 percent of families will lose income having one parent stay at home during the crisis. Furthermore, a survey by Lean In showed that, although concerns about job loss and reduced hours or pay was high among all groups, it was highest among women of color. When it comes to virus-related layoffs, women are disproportionately more likely to be in “high-risk” industries.
“We are delighted to sign this pledge. We work hard to support working parents and women in the workforce, and the pledge is a great way to reaffirm our current and ongoing efforts,” remarked Larren. MoFo has taken a number of steps to ensure that all lawyers and staff, who are parents or guardians, feel supported and are given the tools they need to succeed. MoFo’s robust work-life programs provide support to working parents, which include alternative work arrangements and support programs for new parents returning to work. Additionally, the firm is offering internal support groups, family therapy webinars, and access to wellbeing and mindfulness resources to assist working parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.