A fast food company took a great step forward today for workers' rights, and we're here for it.
Yum! Brands, the parent company of fast food restaurants such as KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, announced today that they're expanding their paid parental leave policy. And by the looks of it, the new program is pretty awesome.
Yum! is now offering mothers who give birth a total of 18 (!!!) weeks of fully paid time away from work. And they're not the only ones reaping the benefits of the new expanded policy. Fathers, partners, and adoptive or foster parents will also be entitled to take six weeks of fully paid “baby bonding” time.
"The new policy for birth mothers nearly triples their paid time-off, as the previous policy offered 6-8 weeks of 100% paid time off. There was no formal policy in place for fathers, partners, adoptive or foster parents previously," the company said in a statement to Refinery29. "The expanded policy is part of our unrivaled culture and talent strategy, offering our current employees, and the talent we want to attract, the type of benefits that are important to them."
It's important to note, however, that as of now, the new policy will be available only to Yum!, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC's corporate employees working in the company's U.S. headquarters. A spokesperson for Yum! explained that that's because the individual restaurants are mostly franchises, meaning that the benefits offered to restaurant workers is determined by each individual franchise owner.
But, while the policy clearly has some limitations, it's encouraging to see that we're making strides (particularly outside of the tech industry) to expand paid leave to include every type of parent. We can only hope that other companies will follow Yum! Brands' lead. Hey, maybe even the government could take a hint?