Wages, Working Conditions, Compliance and Our Responsibility to Our Associates and Communities
November 14, 2018
We are committed to involving our associates in creating safe, secure, inclusive, productive and healthy work environment with competitive wages and benefits and to complying with all applicable laws and regulations. This includes:
- Continuously working to improve associate safety, health and wellness;
- Treating all associates with dignity and respect, promoting diversity and inclusion and ensuring equal opportunity;
- Protecting associate rights, encouraging engagement and providing mechanisms for work grievances without retribution;
- Measuring and fostering associate satisfaction; and
- Setting annual “People” goals to move forward toward improving associate safety, retention, health and engagement.
Providing competitive wages and benefits and complying with all applicable laws
We offer competitive wages and a comprehensive benefits package, including options for medical, dental and vision coverage, a 401(k) savings plan with dollar-for-dollar match up to 5 percent of pay, and profit-sharing bonuses. Annual compensation surveys confirm we remain competitive in each employment market.
- The combination of pay rate and company-paid benefits puts the total compensation for our production associates above $18 per hour at all locations.
- Our average hourly production rate is 172% of the Federal minimum wage, which is also above the 2017 Federal Poverty Guidelines for a family of four and above minimum wage in all the states and localities in which we operate.
- Our health care coverage design is in accordance with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Perdue pays 70% of the cost of insurance and the associate pays 30%.
- “Sick time” or short-term disability coverage is available all to associates at a cost of $3.05 per week.
- Perdue associates accrue Paid Time Off (PTO) hours after 90 days of employment that can be used for vacation, sick leave or any personal need for time off. Time is not lost, and associates can accrue a bank of up to 125% of their PTO allotments.
- We provide all required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all associates, free of charge.
We continue to comply with all applicable wage and hour laws and regulations, including those related to minimum wage, overtime compensation, piece rates, and any/all legally mandated benefits.
- We ensure all associates work within the limits of regular and overtime hours. Where overtime is required, those associates are normally granted at least one day off in every seven-day period.
- We pay “punch-to-punch” to ensure our associates are paid for all donning and doffing time. We conduct monthly First and Last Principal Activity audits in all plants to ensure we remain in full compliance. Two recent Department of Labor Wage and Hour audits (2013 and 2014) found our practices to be fully in line with all applicable laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- We provide associates a full accounting of all time worked, with direct deposit to a debit card or bank account. We have kiosks at all our plants where associates can view or print pay stubs, or they can view them online.
In most of our production facilities, we provide two 30-minute breaks per day, and in others, we provide one 30-minute lunch break and two other shorter breaks.
We maintain adequate staff to accommodate associate requests for bathroom breaks within a reasonable time, and we pride ourselves on the cleanliness and appearance of our restroom facilities.
We publish all associate policies and procedures for our associates to view via kiosks in our plants or from their HR departments.
We also require that our associates and anyone working on our behalf – including business partners, vendors, service providers, independent contractors and each of their subcontractors – comply with all the laws and regulations in the countries in which they and Perdue operate, as well as with our company’s procedures and policies.
In particular, Perdue Farms requires that everyone in our supply chains adhere to an absolute prohibition on the use of human trafficking, slavery or involuntary labor of any kind, including child labor and indentured labor.
Continuously Improving Associate Safety, Health and Wellness
Our safety programs create a culture of safety at our operations and position our workplaces as among the safest in the manufacturing sector, with key OSHA metrics better than the manufacturing sector as a whole, and among the best among poultry companies.
- We employ a full Corporate Safety and Security Staff, have safety and security managers in each facility and safety teams – consisting of both hourly and management associates – that constantly monitor safety procedures. We continuously review and make improvements to our safety policies and procedures to ongoing improvement.
- We provide new associate and ongoing safety training, including training for new procedures and equipment to ensure ongoing safety.
- Our sites have and continue to maintain safe line speeds.
- We continue to evaluate new technology to reduce risk exposures on our production lines. This includes adjustable work stations where our safety teams, including hourly associates, provide input on ergonomics. As evidence of our program’s success, Perdue was recognized in 2016 by OSHA as a leader in ergonomic improvements.
- Job rotation is required and monitored.
- Proper recording and reporting of all safety incidents, including “near misses,” is addressed during orientation and team meetings throughout the year.
Most of Perdue's onsite Wellness Centers include fully equipped “doctor’s offices” staffed by healthcare providers from the community, providing associates and their dependents convenient access to primary care. As of January 1, 2018, we eliminated the copay for associates participating in our health plan to use the Wellness Center, including doctor and other health care provider appointments. Associates can make appointments during work hours and “stay on the clock” during their appointments.
Our voluntary Health Improvement Program (HIP) helps associates adopt healthy lifestyles and targets major preventable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, resulting in measurable improvements in associate health and wellness.
Treating all associates with dignity and respect, promoting diversity and inclusion and ensuring equal opportunity
Perdue is committed to treating all associates with dignity and respect and has a strong policy against any form of discrimination, harassment or abuse. This includes discrimination or harassment based on race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. Any individual found guilty of this type conduct would be dealt with severely, up to and including termination of employment.
We take pride in the diversity of our workforce and the manner in which our facilities attract and bring together people from different racial, ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds.
In 2014, we committed to move beyond diversity by taking a more active role in creating an inclusionary workplace. We now have our Inclusion Council, compromised of diverse associates representing different areas of the company, providing direct input to the senior management team. In 2017, Perdue’s vice president of human resources services assumed additional responsibility as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and Perdue Farms is signatory to CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion.
As part of our Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, we reaffirm our commitment to recruit, hire, train, promote and administer all personnel actions without regard to color, religion, age, sex, gender identity, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, status as a qualified individual with a disability, and any other characteristic protected by law. Further, as a government contractor/sub-contractor, we annually write Affirmative Action Plans for each unit within the company and as part of that exercise we thoroughly analyze all company practices to ensure discrimination does not exist. Perdue encourages diversity through targeted recruiting strategies.
Employee Rights, Voice and Engagement
We prefer to take a team approach to management, and the Perdue Continuous Improvement Process encourages associate involvement and engagement by seeking their input, experience and insights to help us improve our processes, increase efficiencies and reduce waste. Committees such as Safety Teams, Diversity and Inclusion Teams, Green Teams and teams focused on food safety and quality include both hourly and salaried associates working together.
We hold associate roundtables on a regular basis in which associates can bring up any topic they want wish to discuss. A rotating schedule ensures we include almost all of our hourly associates during the year.
We provide all associates with several mechanisms to air their grievances or concerns.
- Our Open-Door Policy allows any associate to speak to any member of management at any time.
- Our “Speak Up, We’re Listening” confidential hotline allows associates to call a third-party, toll-free hotline to anonymously report suspected illegal or unethical activity.
- Our Peer Review Program allows associates who have been disciplined or terminated to appeal their cases in front of panel of their peers, selected by them, from a group of trained panelists. If the panel’s decision is to remove the discipline or reinstate the associate, that decision is final.
We strive for an environment in which a union would have nothing to offer our associates; we believe that when and if problems arise, they are best worked out with honest and frank discussions in an atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and cooperation directly between management and associates.
Measuring and increasing associate satisfaction
Perdue conducts 100% associate surveys every two years, with “pulse” surveys of 25% of the workforce on the in-between years. These are conducted by an outside third-party specializing in employee surveys.
In a survey of more than 17,000 associates conducted in 2018, 91 percent of our associates were positive about their jobs, and 88 percent were positive about safety and working conditions.