Lidl Ireland has removed its mandatory retirement age clause for current and new employees from today.
This means the company will give all employees the option to continue working beyond the age of 65.
The retailer said its decision will allow the company to attract more “mature” and “life-experienced” talent, as well as offering more flexibility to current employees.
It also pointed out that those who choose to continue their service can opt to extend their pension plan.
“As one of the largest workforces in the country, we are aware of the broad scope of employees and age groups that work at Lidl, and we want to support those who would like to choose to continue working with us and are not limited by the mandatory retirement age,” said Maeve McCleane, Chief People Officer at Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“At Lidl, we are really proud to continue to introduce people-centric policy updates that recognise the needs of our employees and are constantly evolving all the time as they progress through different stages of their lives and unlock a culture where everyone feels valued and empowered,” she added.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Ms McCleane said the retailer has a diverse age group in its workforce of over 6,500 across the island of Ireland.
“At this point in time there are probably around 50 employees who are directly impacted by this decision,” she said.
“But the trend is that people are staying with us for longer, so it is going to become more important and more prevalent for more of our employees as the years go on,” she added.
Ms McCleane acknowledged that it is becoming challenging to recruit staff right across retail and many other industries, and said she hopes this policy change will help.
“This definitely gives us an opportunity to recruit from a more diverse talent pool and to recruit those who have maturity and life experience – and that will make our organisation richer as well,” she added.
The decision by Lidl follows a recent announcement by the Government that will see major changes introduced to the State pension system.
These changes will allow employees more flexibility with regards to retirement and will incentivise people to continue to work until the age of 70.
Carl O’Connor, Lidl Customer Assistant at Lidl Youghal started working for Lidl in 2000, when it first launched in Ireland.
He has worked for the company for 22 years.
“Not being able to work past the current retirement age was of huge concern,” he said.
“I am delighted that I can plan ahead much longer into the future. I have worked all of my life and I am fit and healthy and want to continue as long as I can,” he added.
Bernadette Gilligan is a Lidl Customer Assistant and Till Responsible People (TRP) at Lidl Ennis.
She has worked for the retailer for almost 20 years.
“I’m 65 in April next year and am so pleased that Lidl have made this announcement on retirement,” she said.
“Not everyone wants to retire at 65, and if you’re in good health, continuing to work keeps your mind ticking and working.
“I think it’s important that we have the choice to continue to work and it’s brilliant that we’re getting that option,” she added.
As well as announcing this policy change, Lidl will run a range of workshops to help prepare employees for retirement.
They will be carried out alongside the Retirement Council of Ireland and LaterLife.
“The courses and workshops provided offer Lidl employees a holistic approach to retirement planning encouraging employees to think seriously about all aspects of their retirement,” the company said.