Lidl Ireland is set to become one of the first major retailers across the island of Ireland to update its paid leave policy and fertility support programme to reflect the inclusion of two days at full pay, per cycle, for employees undergoing egg freezing and IVF. The new policy extends to all of the retailer’s 6,000 employees across its stores, regional distribution centres and offices across the island of Ireland. Unlike standard policies in place nationally, Lidl’s new policy will have no limit to the number of IVF cycles employees can avail of this policy for, and it will be offered to all employees regardless of length of service.
The announcement comes as Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly received Cabinet approval for the publication of the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 and its presentation to the Dáil. The legislation published at the end of February this year, will regulate fertility clinics and domestic altruistic surrogacy here for the first time and is said to pave the way for costly fertility treatment, currently only available via private clinics, to be provided by the public health system for the first time. Ireland is currently one of the very few EU countries that does not offer publicly funded fertility treatment.
Lidl’s new fertility paid leave policy is part of a relaunch of its industry-leading benefits package including compassionate leave for employees affected by early pregnancy loss or miscarriage, menopause support resources for employees and line managers, maternity leave, adoptive leave, paternity leave, parents leave, fostering leave and carers leave. The new package is designed to support and develop employees, ensuring that they can achieve their potential whilst balancing the demands of taking time out of work to care for their families.
Speaking about Lidl’s new policy update, Kate Bohan, Sales Operations Manager said: “Lidl’s ongoing recognition of the changing needs of our colleagues is a testament to the company’s commitment to being an employer that stands for more, and one that isn’t afraid to break stigmas on topics that historically were shrouded in silence. My partner is currently pregnant with our second baby through IVF, and I am immensely proud to see Lidl fiercely support women undergoing this process in a sensitive and caring way.
The experience of IVF can be distressing, both emotionally and physically, and is not a topic commonly discussed. I was fortunate to have a very supportive line manager and I am grateful that my openness has helped shape this policy for colleagues who may be undergoing this process in the future. Through recognising the need for change in this area, Lidl is acknowledging not only the support needed in time off, but also contributing to the conversation surrounding IVF, which is beneficial to us as a workplace, but also as society as a whole.”
J.P. Scally, CEO, Lidl Ireland & Northern Ireland commented: “We’re proud to continue to introduce important policy updates that recognise the needs of our employees are evolving all the time as they progress through different stages of their lives. As a leading employer in the country, we know that our people do their best work when they are valued and supported in a workplace that is inclusive, so it’s critical for us to take into account that not every family’s path to parenthood is the same. Our new fertility paid leave support is available to all Lidl employees, at all levels, and one that we know will differentiate us and ensure we remain an employer of choice and one that is key to fostering a positive environment for working parents.”
Lidl Ireland has been recognised for its industry leading employee benefits packages, with the company recently named Top Employer for 2022 by the Top Employer’s Association for a second year in a row. The esteemed international, sought-after certification showcases an organisation’s dedication to a better world of work, exhibited through excellent HR policies and people practices.