Would You Like A Second Job With That? McDonald's & The Minimum WageNicole Paulhus

In February, President Obama called for a raise in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. The following day, McDonald’s, Yum Brands (KFC & Taco Bell) and Burger King all saw a drop in their stocks. These companies profit off paying their employees as little as they can. If they’re forced to pay each worker an extra $1.75 an hour, they will lower their profit and generate less money for shareholders. If Obama’s proposed wage raise passes, it will hit them hard. So, how do you respond to the threat? Well, if you’re McDonald’s you hand your opponent everything they need to destroy you on a silver platter.

McDonald’s recently launched a “Practical Money Skills” website in conjunction with Visa. In addition to persuading employees to ditch their paper paychecks and switch to Visa PaychekPLUS! Elite cards, the site provides McDonald’s employees advice on how to manage their income and create a budget. Included are interactive games such as Financial Football and Countdown to Retirement, information on how to buy McDonald’s shares, handy calculators to help with home loans and retirement funds, as well as a budget journal. Included in the budget journal is a sample monthly budget of a McDonald’s employee. Here it is:

McDonalds Budget

Have you taken a good look? Okay, so what’s wrong with this picture? McDonald’s is saying that if they pay their employee a net salary of $1,105 a month, he or she will need to find a secondary income of $955 in order to survive. Assuming that this person’s secondary source of income is also a minimum wage position, they would need to work roughly eighty hours a week in order to make ends meet according to the monthly expenses proposed. I really wish SNL was on the air and Seth and Amy were still around because… REALLY?!?! Really, McDonald’s? You’re fighting against the proposed minimum wage raise, but point out how impossible it is to survive on the current minimum wage? On the same website where you admit to not paying your employees enough to survive you present them with a calculator for retirement funds and encourage them to buy stock? You include a game called Countdown to Retirement on a website targeting people who are exhausted from working eighty hours a week in order to feed their families. Really? REALLY!?!?

I’m not here to make a statement about whether we should raise the minimum wage or not. I haven’t done the proper research and I’m not informed enough to make that kind of statement. However, if McDonald’s goal is to keep the minimum wage as it is, they certainly aren’t helping their cause with this sample budget. Not to mention the whole thing just feels like a slap in the face to their employees, many of which are struggling to make ends meet. The tagline to the website is, “Every day and every dollar make a difference.” Yes McDonald’s, every day and every dollar do make a difference, which is exactly why these people are fighting for that extra $1.75 an hour.

Feature Image found here.

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  1. you are talking only about the young people who have the opportunity to study and have nice family who support them, no everybody have the same opportunities. a lot of people is already old and dont have education and ending working in a place of fast food cuz is the only job the could find. we can blame the people and said you should went to college if you have a better salary. but for being realistic the bigest corporatios they always looking the way so save and make more money and the people only represents number

  2. While I agree it is difficult to be a young person starting out in the world, with no experience, few job skills and little higher education, we all have to do it. I worked a minimum wage job in high school and college, and I expect my daughter to do the same. That is why they are called ENTRY-LEVEL JOBS. No company offering a minimum wage job expects any of their employees to support a family on their wages, nor do they owe a top-notch wage to their new hires. These bottom-rung jobs are meant for young people starting out, not for family bread-winners. If one wants to earn more than the starting wage, one must work hard, learn skills and wisdom to propel them toward their desired position and be willing do what is required for promotion. Jobs like this are meant to start a person out, most likely in high school. If a high school student worked from age 16, saved the McDonald’s recommended $100 a month, he/she would have $3600 in savings. Then, if that same student saves the money he/she has allotted for rent, heat, electric and health insurance (I am assuming he/she is living at home), the student would have over $25,000 saved by the time high school graduation rolls around. Unfortunately, teens would rather whine than work. As for the problem of adults who ARE trying to support their families on minimum wage jobs, I don’t have an answer. We all have to live with the decisions we make, and often things are not under our own control. We all need to prioritize. Is that TV/manicure/video game/tattoo worth more to you than buying nutritious food or health insurance? If you value the luxuries, you need a job/career that can support them, otherwise you need to place your values elsewhere. Too many people want everything they want, but don’t want to pay their dues to get it. Like everything else in life, what you get out of your job is directly related to what you put into it. Entry-level, minimum wage jobs should be springboards to careers, not careers themselves.

  3. You can’t support yourself independently with a job at McDonald’s, but even if the minimum wage is increased to $9/hr, it isn’t going to make that much of a difference. After taxes, part-time employees will take home approximately $35 more per week. That is not going to help them pay that rent or buy health insurance.

    The thing is, if you are working in fast-food (or other part-time minimum wage job), you absolutely cannot support yourself on that income alone unless you live with parents or roommates in a cheap house/apartment. You definitely cannot support dependents. You probably aren’t going to have health insurance either way because even the crappiest insurance is at least $100/mo out of pocket. You’re just going to have to get a second job (I worked 2 jobs for 5 years so that I could afford things like food and rent). I think the point of this budget was not for employees to follow it line by line, but to show the importance of having a budget. Whether teenagers in school or adults with responsibilities, these folks probably have never received any sort of financial training.

    And yes, $750/mo spending money is more than enough. Even now that I have one job and a decent salary, I only allot $500/mo spending money to pay for gas, food and entertainment. I don’t get to go shopping or to bars or restaurants every week, but I don’t want for anything.

  4. Every business makes money from paying their employees less.

  5. Does McDonalds offer $20/month health insurance? Because I’ve never paid that little for it..

  6. People eat, and anyone with a car drives, so where’s the allotment for food and gas? Is the $25 per day spending money really supposed to cover that? I have an acquaintance who’s the store director of a Taco Bell. She was angry at the idea of an increased minimum wage, because (according to her) teenagers don’t need to make that kind of money. It didn’t go over well when I asked her how much of her own staff is made up of high school kids.