Lidl Northern Ireland has confirmed it will increase hourly pay for 450 employees from 1st March 2022 following its commitment to not only match, but exceed the Real Living Wage, as recommended by Living Wage Foundation.
Recently named Retail Company of the Year at the Business Eye Awards 2021, Lidl Northern Ireland is the first supermarket in the region to confirm it is exceeding the recommendation, committing to a new entry hourly rate of £10.10, twenty pence higher than the recommended £9.90 rate announced earlier this week by the Living Wage Foundation.
The move sees the entry rate increase from £9.30 to £10.10 per hour with rates for longer serving staff also increasing accordingly. This means an 8 per cent increase for more than 450 employees across the region from 1st March 2022 and represents an investment of more than £1.2 million by the retailer into annual wages.
The Real Living Wage reflects the real cost of living in the United Kingdom, taking into account key living costs such as clothing, food, housing, health, education, transport and social or recreational costs.
Higher than the government-set ‘National Living Wage’, the pay level advised by the Foundation serves as independent guidance for employers. Its adoption is voluntary and organisations are free to choose whether to implement it.
Recognised as a Top Employer by the Top Employers Institute in 2021, Lidl Northern Ireland’s competitive salary and extensive benefit package ensures the retailer continues to be a leading employer, having also been named number 29 in the top 100 Northern Irish companies by Ulster Business magazine earlier this year.
Maeve McCleane, Director of Human Resources at Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland said:
“Our most important asset has always been our people which is why we have prioritised building not only an exceptional place to work, but also an inclusive, rewarding and fulfilling culture at Lidl for our employees. We continually review our pay rates to ensure that we are offering the most competitive compensation and benefits packages in the industry to attract and retain the best employees and, in turn, serve our 300,000 weekly customers in the best way possible.
We’re delighted to confirm a pay increase for 450 team members across Northern Ireland which surpasses the rates advocated by the Living Wage Foundation and boosts the already wide-ranging benefits package we have put in place for our outstanding local team.”
Lidl Northern Ireland’s generous compensation package is in addition to several initiatives introduced to its workforce of more than 1,200 employees across the region in recent years. As the company continues to rapidly grow in the market, it continues to share its success with all employees. Current employee benefits provided by Lidl Northern Ireland include;
· Paid Maternity and Paternity Leave: Lidl Northern Ireland is the only supermarket to offer paid maternity as well as paternity leave to all employees across the region.
· Compassionate Leave for Early Pregnancy Loss and Miscarriage: Lidl Northern Ireland became the first company across the region to extend its Compassionate Leave policy to include three days at full pay to all employees who have experienced or been affected by early pregnancy loss and miscarriage. This extends to all employees, regardless of gender, including those with a surrogate mother.
· Flexible Contracts: Like many retail businesses a high proportion of employees are on part-time contracts for various reasons from flexibility to operational requirements. Lidl Northern Ireland commits to offering all employees a standard 30-hour contact with the flexibility to reduce hours depending on their own personal circumstances.
· Covid Bonus Payments: Lidl Northern Ireland has shared three separate Covid bonus payments to all staff throughout 2020 / 2021 in recognition of the efforts of its staff during this challenging period, representing an investment of almost £1 million in additional bonus payments.
· Employee Assistance Programme: A free, confidential counselling service is offered by Lidl to employees through Laya Healthcare’s Employee Assistance Programme. It offers support to Lidl employees and their families by providing immediate help and guidance in managing whatever work or personal issues they are facing.
· Paid Volunteering: Lidl Northern Ireland provides all employees with the opportunity to take part in a paid Volunteer Day every year. Employees are encouraged to spend a day volunteering with charities in their local community.
· Comprehensive Training Programmes: Employees benefit from extensive training and development opportunities.
· Pension contributions after one year with the company.
· Paid health insurance for salaried employees.
According to latest figures released by Kantar Worldpanel, Lidl is consistently confirmed as ‘NI’s fastest-growing supermarket’ with 12.2% year-on-year sales growth in 2021.
In conjunction with Lidl Northern Ireland’s move, Lidl Ireland has also taken the market lead in committing to match the rate of €12.90 recommended by the Living Wage Technical Group from 1 March 2022.