McDonald's is one of the biggest fast-food companies in America. When it comes to employment options, it is suitable for students, career starters or anyone who needs a part-time job. But just how good and fair is McDonald's hourly rate, as compared to other giant companies like Walmart? Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of hourly wages in McDonald's and how this affects its employees.
A McDonald's worker earns around US$8 per hour, which, truthfully speaking, is hardly enough to support an individual, let alone a family. They work five days a week, which is an average of 25-30 hours per week. In fact, we discovered that McDonald's actually limits the number of hours an employee can work to only 40 hours per week.
For the longest time, McDonald’s starting salary was US$6.25 per hour. Fortunately, it went up when the minimum wage was increased.
As an employee, you never know when you'll get a break - customers may come in at any time of the day and you just have to be prepared. You also may not have much of a choice on the work that you do as it's up to the management to decide what position you'll cover that day; kitchen, grill, product stocking or cashier. Needless to say, you are always on your feet, so it definitely isn't easy work.
As daunting as that sounds, on the bright side, it is fairly easy to get a job at McDonald's. They tend to hire people very readily. Sometimes they may even give you a proposition to take up a managerial post for a 50 cents raise. However, with all the stress that comes from managing shifts, keeping track of employees’ timings and allocating job roles, the raise may just not be enough.
Employees at McDonald’s usually get a 5 cents raise in 6 months. The largest increment is 25 cents but that is one uphill task to achieve. It also doesn’t help that there are no healthcare benefits to go with it.
Fight for Minimum Wage
For over 7 years, McDonald’s employees have joined in the “Fight for $15” movement to protest the unfair wage practices of fast-food chains. Dissatisfaction with the hourly wage was rampant amongst the employees and this brought much unwanted attention to McDonald's which inadvertently affected the business. It placed the company in a situation where they were forced to raise wages, but the question remained. By how much are they willing to do so?
Since there may not be much room for progression while working at McDonald's, employees should arguably get the compensation that they deserve. Whilst maintaining profits and productivity is important for such giant corporations, the core of the company is still its employees. It is only fair to not leave them in the lurch.
But Is This True?
The $15 minimum wage is equal to $30,000 a year for a full-time employee. "They're making millions while millions can't pay their bills", says a hapless union group member, suggesting that there is plenty of profit left over in corporate suitcases to fund a massive pay increase.
In actual fact, at least 90% of McDonald's locations are independently-owned by franchises that are not making that kind of money (millions). They have approximately 6 cents profit from each dollar after paying for the food, staff costs, and other expenses.
If you do a calculation, and say the minimum wage is $15, then that wage will eat up three-quarters of the profit every year. And that is just the minimum wage. Most of the stores would not get any profit in doing so. And if it was so easy to just hike up the price of the meal in McDonald's, it would have already been done so. Unfortunately, customer backlash would then be par for the course when it comes to such price increases.
In other parts of the world, self-service checkout kiosks are commonplace. They have been a norm in many European countries for over seven years now and have been tested successfully in certain parts of the US as well. If self-service counters were to replace entry-level employees, and the minimum wage goes up, then there will be much fewer people employed by McDonald's. And that, in turn, will result in lower employment opportunities for young adults in the country. Undeniably, you can't really satisfy everyone.
It is hard to say whether the organizers behind the $15 minimum wage campaign are really supporting hourly workers or are doing so for their own purposes, and wallets. Evidently, much more thought needs to go into the consequences of having such minimum wage.
Walmart's Smart Business Move
Perhaps something can be learned from Walmart’s recent move with their college tuition scheme - they are giving their employees a push to evolve and gradually improve their skills. Needless to say, that is a smart move to boost the morale of their employees.
Similarly, Disney has also offered full college tuition for their workers, which is something really remarkable and inspiring for employers to note. If you, as an employer, give support to your workers, they will be more satisfied and willing to work harder. As an added bonus, you get all the good publicity that comes with it. Can’t hurt to try, right?
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Zakiyah is a freelance content writer. She’s a lifelong learner, looking for opportunities to expand her horizons whenever she can. She loves traveling, playing volleyball and reading up on general developments in the industry.