Business

Lidl to offer staff paid time off for IVF cycles

Lidl sales operation manager, Kate Bohan and her son Luca (2). Kate’s partner is currently pregnant with the couples second baby through IVF.

LIDL has announced a new policy offering paid time off for staff undergoing IVF treatment.

The retailer said all 1,300 staff in Northern Ireland will be entitled to two days paid leave per IVF cycle, regardless of how long they have been employed.

Last year Lidl became the first Irish company to recognise early pregnancy loss and miscarriage as a bereavement as part of its new compassionate leave policy.

The supermarket chain said its latest policy is in response to the rising incidence of IVF treatment in the north.

Infertility is thought to affect 9-15 per cent of Northern Ireland couples, with IVF birth rates in 2019 three times higher than in 1991.

The number of patients over the age of 40 has also doubled in that time, accounting for one-in-five of all IVF patients.

Lidl sales operations manager Kate Bohan, whose partner is currently pregnant with the couple's second baby through IVF, said the retailer hasn't been afraid to break stigmas on topics that are often shrouded in silence.

“My partner is currently pregnant with our second baby through IVF and I am immensely proud to see Lidl Northern Ireland 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 Northern Ireland 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 and to society as a whole.”

Managing director of Lidl NI, Conor Boyle, said: “At Lidl Northern Ireland, we recognise that the needs of our employees are evolving all the time as they progress though different stages of their lives.

“As a family retailer and major local employer, 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 the latest enhanced paid leave package which we're very proud to offer all of our employees, at all levels from day one. We're committed to ensuring that we remain an employer of choice and one that is key to fostering a positive environment for working parents."

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