McDonald’s Money Management Journal: No Food, No Heat, No Problem


It looks like McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) employees might need a Happy Meal after they see the figures their employer uses in the company’s new budget calculator tool. The fast-food giant has teamed up with Visa (NYSE:V) to launch a website that offers its low-wage workers the opportunity to use a budget calculator to manage their wages.

But while the idea undoubtedly has good intentions, the seemingly helpful endeavor has effectively blown up in the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company’s face.

McDonald’s Practical Money Skills website allows employees to log into a Budget Journal and manage their McDonald’s money. The tool is purposed to help low-wage employees live on their meager earnings, and is advertised as a way to “make financial goals, build budget, and track your spending,” but the fast food giant’s sample budget journal is where the company went dramatically wrong.

The sample details how McDonald’s employees should input their data and how they should set their aside money. However, the budget journal effectively gives an offensive underestimate of what it is like to live on a minimum-wage job. According to the ThinkProgress blog, the sample budget sets aside $20 a month for health insurance and $600 for rent. McDonald’s employees also hopefully live in a temperate environment, because the journal sets aside $0 for heating or air conditioning, and it also doesn’t budget money for food or clothing.

So, where will the money for those disposable goods come from? Ostensibly the McDonald’s worker’s second job, as the fast food giant explicitly leaves a spot open for the wages earned from that position — offering workers a not-s0-subtle hint.

McDonald’s is now facing fire from two different parties of bitter McDonald’s workers: Those who complain of the offensive nature and inaccuracy of the budget journal, and those who really do need that budget journal now that some franchises have resorted to paying its low-wage workers via a fee-laden debit card, rather than a paycheck or through direct deposit.

Though not corporate policy, the fast food giant has already been sued by a former Pennsylvania employee for its new payment procedure. The fast food chain is now the subject of an investigation by New York’s top prosecutor, who is currently in the process of investigating a handful of the state’s major employers that are choosing to pay their employees via the ATM-style cards.

Case in point, McDonald’s employees — along with the general public — are still not happy with how the company is paying its workers. Bloomberg reported last year that it would take the average McDonald’s employee one million hours of work to earn as much money as the company’s CEO, sparking a series of protests and walk-outs.

While it remains evident that McDonald’s Don Thompson won’t require use of a budget journal to manage his income, it still looks as if the Golden Arches aren’t planning on increasing their wages anytime soon.

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