August 8, 2022

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Saga has become the first UK firm to offer grandparents paid leave for the birth...

Saga has become the first UK firm to offer grandparents paid leave for the birth of a grandchild.
The insurance firm and cruise operator for the over-50s is offering its 2,500 staff a week of paid time off to celebrate the birth of grandchildren. Saga will also open its nursery to grandchildren to help staff who are already working grandparents.
The moves follow a survey of its staff that showed a quarter found it “difficult” to balance work with childcare commitments. It was coupled with research by Oxford University which found grandparents’ involvement could “significantly” improve a child’s wellbeing. 
Advocates for grandparents said introduction of the perks also “make business sense” – it is the latest in a “perk war” intensifying among companies fighting to retain staff.
Justine Roberts, founder of website Gransnet said: “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.”
Companies in the UK have followed the lead of those in the US by offering non-cash incentives to workers to address fears of a dwindling pool of talent.
Atom Bank has introduced a four-day week without cutting pay. Staff will work 34 instead of 37.5 hours-a-week and get either Monday or Friday off.City stockbroker finnCap is offering its employees unlined holiday from next year – a move that it claims is part of a push to avoid worker burnout.
And LinkedIn shut its offices for a week in April, giving its 16,000 workforce time off. Nike did the same at its Oregon headquarters in August.
A study by Oxford University of more than 1,500 children aged 11 to 16, showed grandparents could increase by up to 10 per cent points children’s ability to cope with friend problems and improve their school grades and behaviour.
Jane Storm, chief people officer at Saga said: “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, multigenerational 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.”
People over 50 are the fastest growing demographic in the UK. Some 27.9 million people will be over the age of 50 by 2030 in the UK.
The number of over 50s in the workforce are also increasing, accounting for 42 per cent of all workers, compared with 31 per cent two decades ago. Seven in 10 (71 per cent) of people aged between 50 and 64 are in work.
Shelley Whittam, who works in Saga’s Insurance department, plans to take the paid week off later this month. She said: “I’m so excited to be able to spend a week with my new grandchild and help our family with childcare at such an important moment.
“As a parent I’ve been through this myself and have experience that I hope will help my child get to grips with parenthood. It’s great that Saga recognises this and the vital role grandparents play in family and society.”
The Oxford research showed an increasing number of grandparents are getting involved with their grandchildren, with more than half attending school events, offering advice or discussing future plans.
Julia Griggs, one of the authors of the study, said grandparents could plug a gap left by busy parents who might have less time to support their children.
“Grandparents have always been involved in supporting the next generation, but it is possible that grandparents may be providing more support and exerting a greater influence on their grandchildren’s future than in the past,” she said.
“A trend towards greater grandparental involvement may be a result of wider social and demographic changes: longer, healthier lives; mothers’ participation in the labour market; large numbers of children living in lone-parent and step-families.”

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