Saga introduces grandparental leave – a first for a major employer

Saga has become the first major UK employer to introduce a major benefit with grandparental leave, which could be a sign of how benefits will change over the next few years.

The pandemic has brought about a number of changes to working practices, whether it be remote working, a form of office/home hybrid working or flexible hours working, all bringing challenges for HR departments.

Now the travel and insurance company for over-50s says the policy provides a week of paid leave to recent grandparents to allow them to help their children with their childcare responsibilities.

As part of the policy, the grandchildren of all Saga staff will have access to its onsite nursery at its headquarters in Folkestone, Kent.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Government had originally put proposals forward to introduce the benefit, but was later shelved.

Saga, which employs 2,500 staff, said it was introducing the policy in recognition that grandparents play an increasingly essential role in childcare while also building a work culture that appeals to the over-50s.

About 40 per cent of grandparents over the age of 50 provide regular childcare for their grandchildren.

Commenting on Saga’s move, chief people office Jane Storm said: “This is about helping new grandparents celebrate a special moment and play a role in growing families from day one. It is also a symbol of how important older workers are to their companies and society.

“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.”

About 40 per cent of grandparents aged over 50 provide regular childcare for their grandchildren, according to Age UK, and 71 per cent of those between 50 and 64 are in work. The over-50s are also the fastest-growing age demographic, with 28 million people expected to be in that bracket by 2030.

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of UK employees will have to work beyond state pension age, according to research from Canada Life.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of those who say they expect to work beyond 65 will be older than 70 before they retire, up from 37 per cent in 2017. Meanwhile almost a fifth (17 per cent) expect to be older than 75. Workers aged 35 to 44 are the most likely to say they expect to retire after their 75th birthday (27 per cent).

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