Saga, which specialises in insurance and products for the over-50s, has offered paid grandparental leave as a benefit for its 2,500 employees.
The government launched a consultation in 2016 on the possibility of extending shared parental leave to grandparents, but this was never enshrined in law.
Under Saga’s new policy, the grandchildren of all Saga staff will also have access to its onsite Apples nursery.
The initiative was launched after consultation with the workforce and external research with 2,500 people over 50. It showed that 25% of working grandparents found it difficult to balance work with childcare commitments.
Jane Storm, chief people officer at Saga, said the new policy would help grandparents “play a role in their growing families from day one”.
“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,” she added.
Saga cited further research from Age UK that has shown that two out of five grandparents over 50 regularly provide childcare for their grandchildren, alongside figures from the Institute for Employment Studies suggesting there are 310,000 fewer older people in the labour market than pre-pandemic.
Storm said it was crucial as a purpose-led business to reflect the needs of its over-50 customer base within its workforce. By 2030, almost 30 million people will be over the age of 50 in the UK, and currently 71% of those between the ages of 50 and 64 are in work.
Justine Roberts, founder of online discussion board Gransnet, added that the new policy made 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,” she said.