Thursday, July 18, 2013

McDonald's to workers: Don't buy gas, heat your house or save for retirement

The Onion couldn't have done a better job.
McDonald's is "helping" its workers by advising them to forgo heat, health care and food. That way, they'll remain mired in poverty while working two jobs if they don't freeze or starve first.

The fast-food giant, along with credit-card conglomerate Visa, recently unveiled a much-ridiculed website to educate workers about how to manage their money.  With fast food workers across the country complaining about poverty jobs, McDonald's must have thought it was stepped in to save the day with budgeting advice. The company just stepped in it.

The McDonald’s website says that jobs are “a great way to earn extra income for anyone, from students to moms and dads.” The problem is not that minimum wage has decreased about a third in value in the past 60 years, or that half of all minimum wage workers are full-fledged adults struggling to survive on an average wage of $8.68 per hour.

According to McDonald's, they need to budget more.

The sample budget assumes workers have two part-time jobs that they work 52.7 hours a week, on an average fast food wage.  The budget includes savings, car payments and a $600 mortgage.

What it doesn’t include is groceries.  Too bad -- one of the McDonalds-approved saving methods is eating at McDonald's.

Healthcare, included in the budget, is supposed to cost $20 a month, the amount the average McDonald's healthcare plan costs per week.  For the minimum wage workers at McDonald's, healthcare is so inaccessible that only 30,000 company and franchisee employees are enrolled in the company healthcare plan. That's less than half the number of new employees hired in a single day last month.

The budget is so out of whack that it doesn’t even account for paying your McDonald’s uniform (or any other clothes).  Or gasoline.  Or heating for your house.  Or non-essential purchases, a decent emergency fund, children, or being sick.

But then, McDonalds acknowledges that workers aren’t actually supposed to be surviving off of what they make.  That would ruin their whole profit model.  In the meantime, for struggling workers, McDonald’s offers advice:
“Everyone has a goal. (For our workers) it is spending less money than you make.”