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McDonald’s is now hiring 14-year-old kids in Oregon amid worker shortage

Workers in the service industry are refusing to return to jobs that pay starvation wages, and give little or no benefits.

McDonald’s is now hiring 14-year-old kids in Oregon amid worker shortage
Image source: Reddit/u/hotlunchpam

The service industry in America is reeling from a worker shortage with many refusing to work for starvation wages. It now appears businesses are starting to hire minors to combat worker shortages. A McDonald's branch in Oregon is now hiring 14 and 15-year-olds at the restaurant. A huge banner has been placed outside the Biddle Road franchise in Medford calling for young workers to apply for the jobs at the restaurant, reported BBC. Reports suggest that there has been a sharp rise in offers from teenagers, and they comply with the labor laws. Heather Kennedy, the operator of the Medford restaurant, said this level of staff shortages was unheard of in her family's 40-year history of running McDonald's franchises.



 

 

Many workers are not returning to their jobs considering the poor compensation, fear of Coronavirus, schools remaining shut, and lack of access to child-care. Kennedy said she had attempted to entice more workers by increasing the restaurant's minimum wage to $15, but the response was still poor. The restaurant then called for applications from kids to work and has already received 25 applications. "They have the drive and work ethic. They get the technology. They catch on really quickly," she said of the young teenagers who have applied, reported Business Insider. McDonald's hasn't commented on the practice of teenagers 14 and 15-year-olds but told BBC it was sharing best practices for hiring with all its franchisees. McDonald's recently announced that it would increase hourly wages to an average of $15 per hour at company-owned restaurants across the country.



 

US labor laws vary from state to state, but in the state of Oregon, those over 14-years-old and above are allowed to work in non-hazardous jobs such as food service, but working hours shouldn't in any way impinge on their schooling and they should also be given adequate rest breaks. It remains to be seen if employers will pay decent wages to minors, especially considering they can be paid as little as $4.25 an hour for up to 90 days of training. In all cases, the states' higher minimum wage will supersede the minor wage.



 

 

As we reported earlier, local seniors are working for free in restaurants in British Columbia in Canada, to fight worker shortage. The owner of PKLS Burger Bar in Sechelt, Tanya Lapansky, admitted that the burger joint would be “completely screwed” without the elderly people who are volunteering at the place for no money. The news report states that the staff at the joint can 'barely keep up' with the orders. Instead of hiring workers and paying better wages, they have sought the help of a group of seniors who are calling themselves “Coasters Helping Coasters.” One of the seniors says they are all retired and are in no need of money. Many condemned the act of 'volunteering' because they were effectively enabling the businesses to refuse to pay a liveable wage.



 

 



 

 

McDonald’s, Sheetz, Chipotle, Amazon, Walmart, and Costco were some of the businesses that raised the wages to $15 an hour or even higher recently after businesses reopened. In 2019, the House of Representatives had passed a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 from $7.25, but it didn't pass in the Senate, reported CNN. The federal minimum wage in America hasn't risen for more than 10 years, aiding the income inequality in the country. The national minimum wage rose in step with productivity growth from 1938, when it was first introduced, until 1968. Since then, the minimum wage hasn't accounted for inflation which meant that employees earning minimum wage had a fraction of the purchasing power of those from earlier generations. According to The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), if the minimum wage did rise in step with productivity growth since 1968 it would be over $24 an hour today.

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