So McDonald’s decided to do its employees a solid and show them how to get by on their barely-above-minimum hourly wages. The short answer? They can’t, which is why the model budget provided by the Visa-cosponsored program includes a second part-time job. Even McDonald’s knows it’s not paying its workers enough to get by, even in the fantasy world where its hypothetical budget is actually helpful.
Workers’ rights organization Low Pay Is Not OK breaks down everything that’s wrong with the Golden Arches’ budget advice in the video above, but here are a few of the most jaw-dropping assumptions it makes: the average McDonald’s employee apparently doesn’t own a car, doesn’t pay for food, pays a total of $20 a month in health insurance, either doesn’t have kids or doesn’t need to pay for their childcare, and pays $600 a month in rent. And McDonald’s workers need a second job just to pay for that, let alone the cost of what it takes to live in the real world.
The cherry on top of this whole mess is the patronizing video McDonald’s produced to introduce the program, which explains such “intricate” financial concepts as the idea that spending a little bit of money lots of times adds up to…a lot of money. The video also features an employee talking about how difficult it is to make payments on her car—you know, that thing that McDonald’s apparently thinks its workers don’t need, according to its model budget.
All of this comes on the heels of a series of protests by fast food workers around New York asking for a living wage, or at least something better than what they have now. As Low Pay Is Not OK points out in its video, if even McDonald’s knows its workers need to be making more to scrape by (the figure it comes up with is $15 an hour before taxes), it truly has no excuse. Maybe the chain could have spent the money it wasted on companywide budget journals and condescending instructional videos on a wage increase?