McDonald’s tells workers to budget by getting a second job

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McDonald's budgeting guide for employees.
McDonald's budgeting guide for employees.

By TIM ROWDEN

Associate Editor

Want to super size your take home pay? McDonald’s has a suggestion for its employees: Get a second job.

That’s right. McDonald’s is trying to show its employees how to get by on the low wages it pays. So it set up a budgeting guide on its website (http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/mcdonalds/) to help its employees manage their expenses.

The “Practical Money Skills” budgeting guide created by Visa Inc. and Wealth Watchers International for McDonald’s Corp. employees includes a sample budget that suggests workers have at least two jobs; spend only $20 a month on health care; and spend nothing on food.

An early version of the budget also suggested workers spend nothing on heat. That budget was updated after McDonald’s was lambasted in the media for its fuzzy math, but not before LowPayIsNotOK could post a video on You Tube highlighting the ridiculous of McDonald’s budget plan. The “McBudgeting” video was posted July 12 and had attracted 86,008 views at Labor Tribune press time.

BY THE McNUMBERS

Ironically, the budget suggested by McDonald's assumes a worker needs to make about $15 an hour just to scrape by. That's an argument its workers have been making for months.

The sample budget provided in the guide assumes workers with two jobs will earn $2,060 a month, or $12.88 an hour after taxes, for a 40-hour week. U.S. fast-food cooks, on average, make $9.03 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s an average. Some might make a little more. Others earn considerably less.

‘BUDGET BULL’

Ronald Brown, 21, works at the McDonald’s on South Broadway in St. Louis. He makes $7.50 an hour as a cook, just 15 cents an hour above Missouri’s $7.35 minimum wage. Working and average of 28 hours a week, he makes about $840 a month before taxes.

Brown lives with his mother and sister, helps out with the bills and pays for his transportation on Metro and other expenses. By the end of the week, he said, he’s generally tapped out.

“I think they’re talking budget bull,” Brown said of McDonald’s budgeting plan. “$7.50 is not enough and they’re talking about $13-an-hour in their budget. They need to do something about that.”

Doneshia Babbitt, 19, feels the same way. She earns $7.55 an hour at the McDonald’s on West Florissant in Ferguson. She lives with her older sister, who also works at McDonalds, their grandmother, two uncles and a niece. After helping out with bills and bus fair, she said, there’s not much left.

“I want to go to college,” she said. “But I can’t afford it right now.”

You can find out more and help the fast food workers by going to STL735.org, following #STL735 on Twitter, or liking facebook.com/STL735.

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