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Yum gives corporate workers family leave

In bid to boost competitive, company to give more paid time off to parents

Yum! Brands Inc. believes its brands can be more competitive by giving new parents at its corporate offices more time off.

The Louisville-based operator of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut on Monday said it is expanding its parental time-off policy to give new birth mothers 18 weeks of paid time off. New fathers, partners, adoptive or foster parents can get six weeks of “baby bonding time.”

“I believe our policies have always been competitive,” said Tracy Skeans, chief transformation and people officer at Yum. “But by making this change, we are more competitive. In this day and age, when so many companies are getting creative and offering flexible benefits, we wanted to stay out in front on this.” 

Workers at the company’s corporate offices in Louisville, as well as Pizza Hut headquarters in Plano, Tex., and Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, Calif., are eligible for the benefits, as is field staff. Overall, more than 2,000 workers would be eligible.

Restaurant workers are not eligible for the benefits, however. Yum operates few of its own restaurants, choosing instead to franchise many locations where franchisees set their own benefits.

The company says that the benefit packages for restaurant managers at company-run units are competitive. 

Employee recruiting: More competitive than ever

The effort comes at a time when companies are working to bolster their benefits in a bid to improve their ability to recruit workers. A labor shortage has hit the industry hard, and by improving benefits, companies can make themselves more competitive.

Yum, specifically has worked to bolster its benefits. In addition to its paid time off, it has started offering year-round half-day Fridays and a minimum of four weeks paid vacation, plus two additional bonus weeks every 10 years with the company. Yum also has other benefits for families, such as financial support for adoption and infertility treatment, autism support services and daycare facilities. 

“All companies are looking for top talent,” Skeans said. “We want to be able to attract the best of the best and have policies that enable our teams and employees have flexibility and balance life the way they need to. It helps us in terms of attracting great talent. And very importantly, in retaining talent. 

Paid time off has become a hot-button issue nationwide as more communities start looking to require companies provide more paid time off to their workers. 

And more employees have come to expect such policies. This is particularly true for younger, Millennial generation workers who are the prime, current beneficiaries of more parental leave. 

Restaurant chains are working feverishly to attract younger consumers, and many believe that a younger workforce at the corporate level can help them achieve that goal.

“When we’re talking about PTO for baby bonding, the population having babies now is the millennial population,” Skeans said. “We really value our millennial workforce. They’re essential as customers. And certainly as some of our most valued employees. They’re the future.” 

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter at @jonathanmaze

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