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We Believe in Being a Responsible Employer, Investing in Our Associates’ Growth, Safety and Well-Being

Perdue Stewardship Updates

Perdue Named  “Best Employer for New Graduates 2021”

Perdue Named “Best Employer for New Graduates 2021”

Forbes named Perdue Farms one of the Best Employers for New Graduates for 2021. The annual list, which Forbes released in partnership with online statistics firm Statista, is based on an independent survey of over 20,000 U.S. young professionals that focused on work-related issues and their experiences in the workplace. Participants were asked to rate the likelihood that they would recommend their employer to family and friends.

“As a fourth-generation, family-owned business, this important recognition from Forbes reflects what’s in our company’s DNA as we strive to provide diverse and rewarding careers to present and future generations,” said Lynn Clark, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Perdue Farms. “Now in our second century of business this year, we expect to continue our recruitment efforts to attract top talent among new college graduates with interest and expertise in food, agriculture, animal care, and the environment for years to come.” 

Perdue Farms invests in associate education and development through curriculum at its Perdue Learning University as well as a companywide program that allows associates to receive their high school diploma through an accredited online curriculum for free. Mentor programs are available to new associates at all facilities to help them acclimate and be successful in their roles.

A Track Record of Safety

A Track Record of Safety

Workplace safety is an imperative at Perdue Farms that includes an uncompromising company commitment and an ongoing safety culture that engages all our associates.

As we continued to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, our focus remained on ensuring we provided safe places for our associates to work and returning them home safely at the end of each workday.

Perdue has a standard, companywide safety program that encourages active associate participation and input. Associates take part in safety committees, which meet regularly to discuss safety issues, as well as perform safety inspections before the start of each work shift. Associates have the authority to stop production or prevent start-up if any unsafe conditions exist. In addition, every associate attends safety awareness training and is encouraged to look for and report any potential hazard.

Safety Highlights

  • In 2021, the Joint Poultry Industry Safety and Health Council recognized Perdue Foods for 25 years of exceptional safety performance. The award signifies a quarter century of continued reductions in OSHA recordable injuries and lost workday cases. Thirty-seven Perdue facilities were recognized for their continued commitment to a safety-first focus.
  • Perdue’s Rockingham, N.C. harvest operation received the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL) 2021 Gold Safety Award for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Perdue’s Lewiston, N.C., harvest operations and garage and Ahoskie, N.C. growout office earned the NCDOL 2021 Gold Safety Award for the third straight year.
  • Derek Helms, Director of Safety for traypack operations, was named the American Society of Safety Professionals Delmarva Chapter Safety Professional of the Year for driving safety improvements and helping advance the safety profession overall.
Four Drivers Achieve Safe Driving Milestones

Four Drivers Achieve Safe Driving Milestones

Perdue’s professional truckers are some of the safest on the road and among our company’s most visible ambassadors. This past year, three Perdue drivers achieved safe driving milestones without a Department of Transportation recordable accident. We salute their commitment to safety!

Associates Have Access To Convenient Dental Care At Work

Associates Have Access To Convenient Dental Care At Work

As part of Perdue Farms’ commitment to offering associates access to preventative healthcare programs, the company is providing the convenience of dental care at work through a new partnership with Jet Dental, a mobile, on-site dental provider.

“The overall health and well-being of our associates is one of our most important priorities, which is why we offer a variety of health and wellness programs, including Wellness Centers at most of our facilities. Now, this partnership with Jet Dental is a nice addition to our overall wellness philosophy,” said Lynn Clark, Executive Vice President and chief human resources officer at Perdue Farms. “Many of our facilities are in rural areas where access to a dentist is limited and a dental visit can often require significant time away from work. This model provides an incredibly convenient alternative for our associates to receive professional dental services without losing time away from work and still get paid during their appointment.”

The Jet Dental experience is very similar to a regular dental office visit, except they bring their mobile, state-of-the-art services to the workplace. Jet Dental professionals offer a variety of services such as routine examinations, preventative cleanings, X-rays, periodontal treatment, cavity fillings and more. Jet Dental bills the patient’s dental insurance provider, so there is no up-front cost for associates.


Investing In Our Associates’ Growth And Education

As part of our People first philosophy, we are committed to creating opportunities for our associates to grow, professionally and personally. Through our learning and development programs, we offer associates numerous educational programs to help them succeed.

In 2021:

Perdue Learning University conducted 11 leadership conferences engaging some 325 associates and delivered 30 training topics in-person or virtually to thousands of associates. Associates have access to more than 6,000 free self-guided training modules to help them excel.

As part of our people-first philosophy, the Perdue Mentoring Program is available to hourly and salaried associates who want to further their professional development within the company. The purpose of the Perdue Mentoring Program is to increase the company’s talent pool by offering any Perdue associate access to a mentoring relationship if they are interested in professional development toward a leadership role within the company or to enhance a set of skills. 

Throughout the company, development programs have been created to improve the transition of an associate into a new role. These targeted groups include newly hired hourly production associates, management trainees, and any associate taking on a role with broader functional responsibility.

Mentoring relationships can be with a seasoned associate, a peer, or an executive or professional who can provide the associate ongoing guidance and coaching. 

Wages, Working Conditions, Compliance, & Our Responsibility to Our Associates & Communities

We are committed to involving our associates in creating a 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
  • 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% 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 $21 per hour at all locations.
  • Our average hourly production rate is 226% of the Federal minimum wage, which is also above the 2020 Federal Poverty Guidelines for a family of four.
  • 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 $3.78 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 & Wellness

Continuously Improving Associate Safety, Health & 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 ensure 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 workstations 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 on-site 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 co-pay 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.

Treating All Associates with Dignity & Respect, Promoting Diversity & Inclusion, & 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 of 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. Perdue Farms is signatory to CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. We now have our Inclusion Council, composed of diverse associates representing different areas of the company, providing direct input to the senior management team. We also have a number of Associate Resource Groups designed to help us build a diverse, inclusive and engaged workforce and workplace. We designated a Vice President of Talent Management and Chief Diversity Officer to help guide our path forward.

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 or any other characteristic protected by law.

Further, as a government contractor/subcontractor, 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.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Video


Employee Rights, Voice & 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 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.

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.

  • 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 a 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.

Engaging Our Associates

We have a number of Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) designed to help us build a diverse, inclusive and engaged workforce and workplace. Our associates are the backbone of our company and our success, so it’s important that we attract, develop and retain a workforce that reflects the diversity of our stakeholders and our communities.

Learn More

Company Stewardship Report

Learn about the steps we're taking to reach our goal of becoming the most trusted name in food and agricultural products.