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Saga to offer grandparental leave

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The over 50s specialist claims it will be the first major UK firm to offer a paid week off work for new grandparents.

The move aims to recognise the important contribution of older workers to their families, to the workforce and to wider society. To further support working grandparents, the grandchildren of all Saga colleagues will now also have access to its onsite Apples nursery.

The paid week off reflects Saga’s belief in the value of experience in the workplace, alongside a recognition of the role of grandparents to their families and society. It was launched following an extensive consultation with Saga employees, as well as research involving 2,500 people over 50.

The research showed that a quarter of working grandparents said they found it “difficult” to balance work with childcare commitments.

Academic research first published in Children and Society also found that grandparent involvement is strongly associated with child wellbeing and that grandparents may be under-recognised in the policy agenda.

Jane Storm, chief people officer at Saga, said: “This is about helping new grandparents celebrate a special moment and play a role in their growing families from day one. And it’s also a symbol of how important older workers are to their companies and to society. Working life is getting longer, but the first question many people over 50 still hear is ‘when are you going to retire?’. We want to change that mindset and show that age is no barrier to continued professional success.

“As a purpose-led business we have a responsibility to build a representative, multigeneration workforce fit for the future, that serves the needs of our customers. Our customers are mostly over 50 and we want to have more colleagues here that reflect the community we serve. We also think this idea should be a key attraction for retention and recruitment.”

Saga figures show that people aged over 50 are the fastest growing demographic in the UK and represent a sizeable share of the working age population. An estimated 27.9 million people will be over the age of 50 by 2030 in the UK and, according to government data published in September 2021, 71% of people aged between 50 and 64 are in work.

Justine Roberts, founder of Gransnet, welcomed the new initiative. She said: “We know from Gransnet users just how important it is that grandparents are able to provide much needed support to exhausted new parents – as well as getting the chance to meet the new arrival.

“But embracing family friendly working practices isn’t just good news for employees. It also makes business sense. Employers who recognise the fact that their employees have relationships and responsibilities outside of work will reap the rewards of increased loyalty and staff wellbeing.”