As working people find themselves working to an older age with countries setting retirement age later, companies need to address the reality of working with multigenerational teams. Indeed, employers must now take into account the different needs of various age groups, including that of older adults.
The growing presence of these workers is prompting some companies to offer leave to the grandparents that make up their ranks.
Companies in the United States such as Fannie Mae, Booking, and SentinelOne are among those now offering their staff this new kind of leave, according to “Quartz” magazine. They are entitled to it as soon as they become grandparents, whether through childbirth or adoption.
This trend suggests that companies see family and work-life balance as a benefit that can be useful for attracting and retaining employees.
“Grandparents do so much. The workforce is changing, people are working longer, and they are still in the workforce when they have grandkids,” Divya Ghatak, human resources director at SentinelOne, told “Quartz”.
“It’s not a huge part of our workforce, but it is a key part of our workforce.”
For the time being, the cybersecurity firm only has a few employees potentially eligible for grandparental leave. But there could be many more in a few years’ time: some 20% of Americans over 65 were still working in 2019, according to the American Association of Retired Persons.
A growing number of retirees throughout the country are returning to work, due to the financial difficulties they face.
“This measure sent a really powerful message to the rest of the employee population that we are not just taking care of one constituent,” Ghatak further explained.
The idea of “grandternity leave” has only recently made its appearance in the US, like the idea of unlimited vacation time previously. And it’s unsurprising, given that the country has no legal minimum for paid leave, and the average number of leave days taken per worker is around 15 a year.
In this context, grandparent leave is a way of boosting a company’s attractiveness when recruiting talent.
While few companies have actually created a dedicated policy, a much larger number offer their employees a degree of organisational flexibility so that they can balance their professional and family priorities.
And it’s not just in the US – leaders and managers elsewhere are following suit by taking into account the personal grievances of their employees and offering them arrangements that allow them to continue to work while fulfilling their family or personal life duties.
It’s a balancing act in line with recent developments in the world of work, and who knows? Grandternity leave just might make its way to Malaysian shores someday.