Granny Gawthorpe’s musings on Grandparental leave

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Granny Gawthorpe’s musings on Grandparental leave

There’s been a lot of talk about Grandparental leave recently and it remains to be seen whether the government will allow grandparents to share up to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave.

It got me thinking though….given the UK’s ageing workforce maybe we should do something for grandparents, and wouldn’t it be a great way of acknowledging the importance of grandparents in today’s society.

Sadly, I only met one of my grandparents when I was very young so they didn’t play a big part in my life, but 6 years ago I became Granny Gawthorpe to the enchanting Evie and 4 years ago to the delightful Amelie. On both occasions it was love at first sight and the experience has transformed my perspective on what is and is not important and I became the oldest person in the world…..and I love it.

Many families are geographically split. My grandchildren live on the south coast whereas my home is in the midlands. I can’t just pop round the corner to babysit – everything has to be pre-arranged with visits built around busy work and school schedules.

Yet Grandchildren can and do learn so much from grandparents, perhaps because we have more patience or just because we know we can “give them back” at the end of the day. Grandparents can share what children need to know to grow up into an unfamiliar world, and grandchildren provide the links between the generations. Of course, it is a way of passing wisdom through the generations but because of the constraints on family life, it may be that our society is missing a big trick here.

An hour or two with grandchildren keeps people young; they keep us fit and even up to date with technology. For me there is nothing in this world that is more wonderful than that moment when they walk through my front door. The laughter, the fun and the memories can keep me quietly laughing for days – even through the most difficult of business meetings. It helps me keep things in perspective and I know other Grandparents feel the same.

So, my advice to the government would be to encourage organisations to build some benefits specifically for grandparents into their employment offers. Lets face it, with the extended retirement age; more and more of our workforce are likely to be grandparents. Just consider how attractive an employer might be if they were to target their wisdom and experience and offer some bespoke Granny and Grandpa benefits in return for loyalty and experience.

Some ideas might include:

  • Unpaid/paid Grandparental leave at the time of birth
  • A paid/unpaid 2 day annual leave in the summer holidays
  • A winter warmer contract that allows Grandparents the summer holidays off to spend time with grandchildren
  • Weekend working shifts so that Grandparents can spend time with pre-school children during the week.

A little bit of creative thinking around your particular product and service requirements might lead you to come up with some really attractive benefits that will appeal to, attract and retain a very valuable workforce – Grannies and Grandads!

I love the words of Rudy Guiliani! “What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humour, comfort, and lessons in life. And, most importantly, biscuits”.

Ruth Gawthorpe is the owner of the Change Directors. She helps organisations to navigate the complexities of transformation and growth, focusing efforts on employees. She knows just what it takes to win hearts and minds when leading change. Call her now on 07976 509551 to discuss your transformation plans.



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