‘Top employer’ Lidl Northern Ireland extends enhanced paid leave policy to offer all staff paid time off for IVF cycles

Lidl Northern Ireland is enhancing its industry-leading benefits package by offering enhanced fertility support including paid time off to any of its 1,300 employees undergoing IVF, regardless of length of service. The new policy will see the retailer offer two days’ paid leave per IVF cycle, which is unlimited in the number of IVF cycles employees will be supported through, as well as support for staff undergoing egg freezing.

In the UK, more than 3.5 million people experience a fertility challenge and in Northern Ireland, infertility affects around 9-15% of couples.

The number of people undergoing IVF is also rising – in 2019, IVF birth rates were three times higher than in 1991 – and the number of patients aged over 40 more than doubled in this time, accounting for 21% of all IVF patients.

Despite the rising incidence of IVF treatment, financial support is decreasing. In Northern Ireland, this fell from 50% of all cycles being funded to 32% by 2019. According to Fertility Network UK, 90% of IVF patients say they have suffered depression due to infertility.

As a family retailer, Lidl Northern Ireland aims to encourage a national conversation to help destigmatise isolating and traumatic fertility challenges which are lived by so many people in Northern Ireland every day. The retailer’s new Fertility Paid Leave Policy is part of a relaunch of its industry-leading benefits package which seeks to support staff throughout all stages of their lives.