Yum Brands HQ in Louisville

Louisville-based Yum Brands is giving employees more time off and extending its parental leave to help the company better recruit top-tier employees.

“We believe that unrivaled culture and talent will grow this business,” Mark Lagestee, vice president of global talent and organizational development at Yum Brands, told Insider Louisville in an interview. “We want to be able to attract good talent at the end of the day.”

Yum Brands increased its maternity leave to 18 weeks of paid leave from its previous policy that allowed for six to eight weeks of paid leave, according to the company.

It also adopted a paternity leave policy, which it didn’t have previously; the policy gives fathers six weeks of paid leave. The same policy applies to employees who adopted a child or are foster parents.

Working Mother magazine releases an annual list of the 100 best companies for women and families. According to its 2016 report, the 100 best companies offer employees an average of nine weeks of paid maternity leave and three weeks paid paternity leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires most large employers in the United States to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, but there is no requirement for paid leave or for paternity leave, paid or unpaid.

Yum Brands increased its minimum paid vacation to four weeks, with two additional vacation weeks added on an employee’s 10th, 20th and 30th year of service. Previously, employees got two weeks of vacation during their first four years and three weeks of vacation for anyone who’d worked at Yum Brands for five to nine years, the company stated.

The final human resource policy change allows employees to take a half day on Fridays.

“For us, this is all about workplace flexibility and making sure our employees know that we want them to have choices about when they work and how they work,” Lagestee said. “That helps people extend their weekends and invest in their private personal time.”

The policy changes will impact 2,000 corporate-level employees at Yum Brands and its subsidiaries KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Roughly 800 of those work in Louisville.

When asked how employees have reacted to the changes, Lagestee said: “They’re ecstatic.”

Although many employees are parents and already have had the children they expect to have, Lagestee said they welcome the new policy.

“No matter who you are, whether you are in that age group or past that age group, people are very excited,” he said. “This is extra from what we’ve done. We have taken nothing away.”

In addition to the new policies, Yum Brands already offered working parents and families daycare facilities, wellness programs, financial support for adoption services and infertility treatments, and access to a physician through telehealth company Teladoc.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]