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How family-friendly policies and flexible schedules support Lidl’s employees

Parenting is hard work and requires enormous levels of forward planning to make time for all. Lidl’s family campaign gives partners, parents and children more opportunities to spend time together

For Doru and Ioana Ungureanu, family comes first. It’s why the couple, who are parents of two-year-old Isabela and three-year-old Irene, both love working at Lidl.

Doru came to Ireland from Romania in 2015, and initially worked in the construction industry.

“In each job I was foreman within one year but it ended up that there was only the owner of the company above me. I wanted the opportunity for promotion, so I joined Lidl,” he explains.

In 2017, Doru married his college sweetheart Ioana, who subsequently joined him in Ireland.


The couple met in 2011 at university, where he studied biochemistry, and she was studying renewable energy. They hit it off immediately. “I liked her vibe, she’s very relaxed. But we also shared the same ambition,” says Doru.

Ioana had worked in retail part-time since her student days and quickly moved into the sector here too, securing a job with Lidl.

Within two years of coming to Ireland, the couple had saved enough to buy a brand new three-bedroom home in Portlaoise. “It’s a lovely and quiet estate with lots of other young families, and children playing outside on their bicycles,” says Ioana.

Within months of joining Lidl, both Doru and Ioana were getting the opportunities they craved. “I joined in August and by December I was promoted to deputy store manager,” says Doru. “I went on the Lidl Leadership Academy to improve my business skills.”

Ioana progressed just as quickly and is also a deputy store manager in a different Lidl store.

More family fun

Juggling home life and work responsibilities is part and parcel of life for most young couples. Working in Lidl helps the Ungureanu’s to take it all in their stride.

Each can choose whether to work late shifts, enabling one of them to stay home with the children in the morning, give them their breakfast and get them ready for creche.

Or they can start early and be finished in the early afternoon, leaving them free to collect the children, give them dinner and enjoy playtime.

Because their managers and colleagues are happy to swap shifts, the couple can maximise the time spent with their children, while minimising childcare costs.

It also enables the couple, who are in their early 30s, to make life easier for one another.

“If I’m on the late shift, I will do the breakfasts and make the lunchboxes and get the girls to creche and then come back and tidy up the house, to leave it clean and make everything nice for Ionna when she gets in, and she will do the same for me,” says Doru.

“If Ioana is on the late shift, I will make her dinner and have it ready for her when she gets home, and again, she does the same for me.”

They have the flexibility to make sure there is always a parent at home at the weekend, and to share a day off mid-week, so that they can enjoy some couple time too. “It’s a chance to get a day to ourselves, to go for a walk, go for coffee, have a catch-up,” says Doru.

“When it comes to big events like birthdays or Valentine’s, because the dates are fixed, we can plan in advance. We also take two holidays a year, we love going to Africa and meeting different people and experiencing different cultures.”

Supporting ambition

Both are ambitious and feel supported in their progress. “Due to the training I received from day one, I got promoted quite quickly. I hope to be a store manager in a year, maybe an area manager after that. The sky is the limit with Lidl,” says Doru.

For Ioana, a huge part of Lidl’s appeal is that it pays well and provides secure employment. “I had worked for Lidl in Romania one summer when I was a teenager, and it was amazing. I learned a lot in a short time,” she explains. It’s why the prospect of a career there stuck with her. “I think I have a Lidl calling,” she laughs.

What also works well for her family is planning days off with her manager in advance. “It means I can have three days off some weeks, which is really handy, and saves on childcare,” she adds.

The couple have also taken full advantage of all their leave entitlements, including both parental and parents’ leave, as well as statutory maternity leave with payments topped up by Lidl.

Having an understanding employer is a godsend, says Ioana. “People are very understanding and if I’ve been called from creche to say my child is sick, I’m always able to get cover,” she says, something every working parent can relate to.

Other colleagues are making the most of Lidl’s family-friendly flexibility too. “In my store, an employee works evenings while her husband works as a packer in the mornings. They had their first child in February and have just bought a house too,” she says.

Work life balance

“Lidl is supportive of work life balance. I’m a manager now and I have to be 100 per cent focused at work, but at the same time I have two small kids, so I have to be 100 per cent focused at home too. With no family around us here, we have to manage that by ourselves, so it’s very important to have that support,” explains Ioana.

Like many young parents the couple’s dates typically consist of playgrounds and petting zoos with the kids. But working in a store selling well-priced fresh flowers and chocolates means romantic gestures are an affordable luxury they can both indulge in. So is self-care, says Ioana.

“Because we can afford it without having to worry about money, I’d rather pay an extra day at creche to take some time out - just to be able to go shopping on my own is like a hobby to me,” she laughs.

Family first, from the top down

Denisa Baltatu, Lidl Ireland’s employer brand specialist, also knows first-hand the value of a supportive employer.

“I’m a single mother. I work full time but I’m there for my son 24/7 too, because of the flexibility I have working here,” she says.

“If I need to go to my son’s school play that’s ok with my manager. They know that I will come back and give my best because I have been given that flexibility.”

As an office-based employee Denisa can work from home two days a week too, which allows her to trim her childcare costs.

She sees similar consideration given to all staff with care responsibilities, whether it’s fostering leave, leave for fertility and surrogacy, or support for eldercare.

“It’s how we treat our people that makes Lidl an employer of choice because if our employees are not happy, our customers won’t be happy either,” she says.

“For me it means I don’t have to miss important moments in my son’s life. But it’s the same whether it’s your sister or your father - it’s not just about children, it’s about family.”

Work for Lidl. The benefits include paid leave for maternity, paternity and those caring for a family member. It offers compassionate leave for early pregnancy and miscarriage, menopause supports, flexible contracts and comprehensive training. For more details on how to apply for a job with Lidl visit jobs.lidl.ie