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Lidl will give leave to employees for pregnancy loss and miscarriage

The supermarket chain is set to become the first company in Ireland to recognise early pregnancy loss and miscarriage as bereavement as part of its compassionate leave policy.


by Jennifer McShane
06th Jun 2021

GETTY

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Lidl Ireland announced this week their policy has been updated to include three days of full pay to employees who have experienced or been affected by early pregnancy loss and miscarriage.

The policy change will be offered to staff regardless of gender and include those with a surrogate mother. This will be paid on top of the paid sick leave offered to all employees, at least 20 days per year. The policy includes all employees across stores, warehouses and offices.

They will be one of the first companies in Ireland to adopt this policy, as paid leave for a pregnancy loss or miscarriage is not a statutory right in Ireland.

More than one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage and around 14,000 women in Ireland have a miscarriage every year.

They said in a statement the company wants to offer support to all employees affected by the loss and encourage safe conversations on the subject.

“We want to encourage a national conversation to help destigmatise isolating and traumatic reproductive health challenges which are lived by so many people in Ireland every day,” they said in a statement.

The extension of the policy will offer paid compassionate leave along with a robust support system including 24-hour access to their Employee Assistance Programme for mental health, up to five free sessions with a professional counsellor, and a peer or colleague support system.

“The silence around early pregnancy loss has forced many to cope with it alone and we want to ensure that we help to lift that silence and offer support for all those who have experienced this loss. We want to acknowledge that people who experience early pregnancy loss or miscarriage are bereaved and not sick.

“We also want to support employees to have safe conversations and to listen to what they need,” Denise White-Hughes, head of employee relations at Lidl Ireland, told the Irish Times.  

This is a start to something that is already happening in other parts of the world, albeit on a slightly smaller scale similar to the same news in New Zealand last month; India grants 6 weeks of fully paid leave for people who experience miscarriage, in the Philippines you are entitled to 60 days of fully paid leave. In Mauritius, an island off the eastern coast of Africa, workers are granted 14 weeks of fully paid leave for a stillbirth and 3 weeks for a miscarriage.

Still, it’s a welcome start, and one we can only hope will soon be followed by other companies.