- UK insurer Saga is giving workers one week of paid leave when their grandchild is born.
- The company, which caters to over-50s, said that the leave could help the company retain staff.
- The grandchildren of any employee will also now receive access to Saga’s onsite nursery.
Grandparents at a UK company are set to receive a special work perk: paid time off to spend with their grandchildren.
Saga, which specialises in insurance for over-50s, now offers any of its 2,500 employees who are grandparents one week of paid leave following the birth of a new grandchild. The grandchildren of any employee will also receive access to Saga’s onsite nursery, Apples.
The company said it made the change after a consultation of its employees, and 2,500 people over 50, found that a quarter of working grandparents struggled to balance professional and family commitments.
Jane Storm, chief people officer at Saga, said in a release on the company website, that the policy symbolizes how important older workers are to the economy and society.
“Working life is getting longer, but the first question many people over 50 still hear is ‘when are you going to retire?’,” Storm said, adding that the leave could also be key to helping the company retain and recruit staff.
In the UK, working parents are entitled to 18 weeks of parental leave per child, up until the child’s 18th birthday. New parents are also entitled to varying levels of paid maternity and paternity leave, which they can also take as shared leave if applicable.
However, there is no formal policy regarding paid leave for grandparents.
The employment rate for people aged between 50 and 64 years is 71.2% in the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics. Around 20% of Saga’s workforce is aged over 50.
A labor shortage accross multiple industries, alongside a general awakening among workers seeking a better work-life balance, is forcing companies to rethink the pay and perks offered to staff in the wake of the pandemic.
Giving older workers more time off could help provide much-needed support to exhausted new parents, Justine Roberts, the founder of advice-website Gransnet said in reference to the policy.
A lack of access to childcare can lead to working parents, mothers in particular, to leave the workforce. The pandemic has put further pressure on caregivers and parents.
Greensburg, in Indiana, is trying to lure remote workers to the town on the promise of additional childcare, by offering a “Grandparents on Demand” service.