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Grandparent Leave and 4 Job Perks That Make It Worth Putting Off Retirement

DGLimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DGLimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Many companies have been offering workplace perks to entice employees to come back to the office in a post-pandemic world or to increase retention. And now, some companies are making similar efforts to keep their middle-aged or older workers, which in turn, can make it worth putting off retirement.

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“It is so smart [that] companies are thinking about ways to retain older workers. These are exactly the demographics that missed out on the hybrid and work-life balance cultural changes that took place recently and can feel like they missed out on what could have been in terms of career opportunities,” said Bobbi Rebell, CFP, founder of Financial Wellness Strategies and author of Launching Financial Grownups: Live Your Richest Life by Helping Your (Almost) Adult Kids Be Everyday Money Smart. “Making them feel welcome and included in this new perspective is a good strategy,” she said.

And for companies, it’s a win-win as well, according to several experts.

Indeed, companies are facing talent shortages, many of which are based on systemic shortages of skilled workers that won’t be ‘fixed’ any time soon, said Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, so attracting older workers now and in the future will be crucial for many industries to fill gaps.

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“Many employers focus on supporting the needs and wants of millennial and Gen Z workers. However, if a company does not properly support older workers, it may lack an important talent pool necessary to fill vacant roles,” said Hunter.

To put this in context, it’s important to note there’s an increasing number of people who are considering working in retirement to give them a boost, both financially and mentally.

Lena Haas, principal head of wealth management advice and solutions at Edward Jones, said that according to the company’s recent research 68% of today’s pre-retirees are interested in phasing gradually into retirement and three-quarters of today’s pre-retirees would consider working in retirement.

“Nearly half of retirees would consider working during retirement to improve their financial security,” said Haas. “This can have profound effects for those who are able to continue working, earning more income, and accumulating more retirement savings. These retirees can often delay initiating Social Security benefits, which increases their eventual monthly benefits. In short, they can afford a longer and more financially secure retirement.”

What are some of the perks companies are offering older workers?

Grandparent Leave

Grandparent leave, also known as “granternity,” is a policy that allows older employees time off to care for their grandchildren. This leave is designed to support working grandparents who may need to assist in caring for their grandchildren due to various circumstances, such as parental illness, childcare emergencies, family bonding and a list of other reasons.

This policy is “genius,” according to Rebell.

“The actual leave matters as a benefit but the signal that the policy sends is the real hero move,” she said. “A potential worker sees that and understands that the company values older and more experienced workers and can make a pro-active decision that they want to be part of that culture. They don’t feel that they will need to hide their age or their life stage. The messaging from the get-go is that it is positive and they will be valued and accepted.”

James Allen, founder of Billpin.com, echoed the sentiment, saying that this is not just a heartwarming gesture, but a strategic move to keep experienced employees from retiring or switching employers. “Companies like Cisco, Mercer, and HireVue are pioneers in this regard,” he said.

Menopause Leave and Support

Another expanding benefit aimed at mid and late-career employees is menopause time off, stated Allen. This policy grants employees who are going through menopause the option to take time off to manage their symptoms and health during this transitional phase. “These benefits are not just perks, they are signals that employers value the wisdom and work ethic of their older employees,” he said.

While this perk is more commonly found in U.K. companies, the U.S. is catching up. New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently saying that the city will explore “how to create more menopause-friendly workplaces.”

Indeed, employers are now embracing a more holistic approach, acknowledging that women’s reproductive health is a lifelong journey beyond the childbearing years, said Cheri Wheeler, vice president and senior consultant at Kelly Benefits.

Wheeler noted that a recent survey found that 70% of menopausal women have considered making significant employment-based changes due to menopause.

“Employers can retain valuable talent by providing comprehensive benefits that address menopause-related challenges, reducing turnover and associated costs,” she said. “When women feel valued and supported by their employers during critical life transitions, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their work.”

Hybrid Work Arrangements and Flexible Schedules

Erin Lau, director of service operations at human resources provider Insperity, said that seasoned workers, just like their less experienced colleagues, often want the flexibility to work remotely part of the time.

“While every employee will use this perk differently, grandparents can work remotely during an out-of-town family vacation, for instance, giving them valuable time with their grandchildren,” she said. Similarly, flexible schedules help grandparents meet personal obligations such as school pick-up and drop-off, Lau added.

Learning and Development Programs

Experienced workers not only want flexible work arrangements and paid time off (PTO) so they can spend time with loved ones, but they also express a strong desire to acquire new skills, said Lau. She added that according to a 2020 AARP survey, 94% of older workers are interested in additional job skills and training with employer support.

Phased Retirement

Candice Pokk, senior consultant in the organizational effectiveness practice at employee benefits consulting firm Segal, said that many companies are working hard to retain and recruit seniors.  And phased retirement with lessened hours leading up to retirement is another perk some of them offer.

“This is a great time to also institute a knowledge transfer program and institute succession planning,” said Pokk.

As Indeed explains, phased retirement, or partial retirement, is an agreement that allows employees to transition slowly into retirement. Employees may benefit from this strategy because it continues to provide them with income and helps them adjust to stopping work, while companies may benefit from phased retirement because it allows the future retiree to train other employees about unique knowledge they may have, according to Indeed.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Grandparent Leave and 4 Job Perks That Make It Worth Putting Off Retirement