Rent cuts for barristers working reduced hours or away from chambers because of care responsibilities are among proposals in a new guide published by the Bar Council.

The nine-page Flexible Working Guide aims to provide chambers with a model template for operating flexible working methods.

It seeks to address concerns about the loss of talented individuals from the Bar due to insufficient family-friendly policies and outlines possible ways to retain those who might otherwise seek employment elsewhere.

The scheme is the latest initiative aimed at supporting barristers’ wellbeing. The Bar Council also produces a series of guides aimed at improving the workplace, covering fair recruitment, sexual harassment and parental leave policies.

Bar chairman, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, said the Bar needs to retain talent and accommodate those who need to work flexibly in a way that makes financial sense.

She said: ‘Although the self-employed Bar should, in theory, have the flexibility to work as and when they wish, the reality is very different. Many chambers, under financial pressure, require certainty over income generated through rent and expenses. This can make it difficult to work flexibly.’

Doerries added, however: ‘It’s going to take more than filling in the gaps on a ready-made policy to make it work and our guide gives other advice and tips for chambers considering flexible working.’