The New York Times

The New York Times 20 Mar 2020

Virus With Your Quarter Pounder? Why McDonald's Needs to Guarantee Paid Sick Leave

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One of McDonald's values is to "invest in all the people our success rests on." But in the video above, a shift manager at a McDonald's restaurant in Kansas City, Mo., asks why a company that earned $5.3 billion last year can't guarantee paid sick leave for all of its workers, especially during the coronavirus outbreak.

And while the relief bill President Trump signed Wednesday night expands paid sick leave, McDonald's lobbied against parts of the legislation. The new law only guarantees sick leave to 20 percent of private-sector workers — and many of the company's franchise workers get nothing. Would you want to get your next meal from a restaurant where workers can't stay home while sick?


The United States is one of the only advanced economies that doesn't mandate federal paid sick leave, which has forced many Americans to choose between their paychecks and their health. Watch the video above to learn more about why the U.S. lacks comprehensive paid sick leave.
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… show captions ↓
I’ve worked at McDonald’s for over 10 years.
I’m that face that you see that serves you your hash browns
for breakfast, maybe a quarter pounder for lunch,
and even gave you a McFlurry to top off your dinner menu.
So I ask you, if I caught the coronavirus,
would you want me making your next meal?
There are 500,000 McDonald’s workers, just like me,
that have to go to work, whether sick or well,
because we have no paid sick leave.
I currently make 11.50.
I live paycheck to paycheck.
A sick day for me is lost wages.
I’d literally have to be damn near on my deathbed
to take a full blown sick day.
A missed check is the difference between
me having a roof over me and my family's
head versus us being homeless.
“Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order?”
McDonald’s is one of the largest employers
in the world.
There are hundreds of thousands
of McDonald’s workers that touch millions
of customers' food each day.
“There is nothing so clean
as my burger machine!”
The CDC found that 20% of food service workers
go to work even exhibiting the signs of vomiting
or diarrhea.
And I should know, I’m one of those workers.
Last week, I was under the weather.
I was sick to the point where I had to leave the grill
to go to the restroom, and I wound up vomiting.
I could have been sent home with paid sick leave,
and not have to worry about coming to work sick,
because I don’t have to worry about how my bills are going
to get covered for the days that I missed.
“Hello, McFamily.”
Last week, McDonald’s did roll out a coronavirus plan,
stating that anybody that’s quarantine will be paid.
“Protecting the well-being of our people
and our customers is our number one priority.”
But you guys, don’t be fooled.
That’s only for corporate owned McDonald’s.
But 95% of McDonald’s are franchise stores,
including my store.
So that does not benefit us whatsoever.
“Today, the Senate is taking up coronavirus legislation.”
This week, the government passed a law
that enables people that have the coronavirus
to get paid time off.
“... two weeks of paid sick leave.”
“The bill does have an exemption for businesses
with 500 employees ...”
“... depending on how you look at it,
it only covers about 20% of workers.”
Republicans made it
so that doesn’t apply to big businesses, such as McDonald’s.
And listen closely,
that’s only with the coronavirus.
What about the flu?
What about the next outbreak?
What then?
McDonald’s has the power to make it
so anybody in a McDonald’s uniform
that wears the McDonald’s logo, like I do,
could be provided with paid sick leave, especially
during this critical time.
Companies can change this. Since this coronavirus pandemic,
Olive Garden has given their employees paid sick leave—
not just during this time,
but for good.
So we know that McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway—
they can all do it as well.
But they just have chosen not to.
McDonald’s could provide
paid sick leave for hundreds of thousands
of its workers right now, here today.
Well, with that being said, off to work I go.
Y’all have a blessed day.

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