McDonald's accidentally drew focus to low-income struggles with a website designed to help its minimum wage employees budget. The sample budget worksheet shows an employee needing two full-time jobs to get by.
Critics seized on the illustration to point out the absurdity of anyone actually trying to live on those wages.
"After working 35 hours a week for monthly take-home pay of $1,105," noted one critic at the Huffington Post, "the employee is supposed to go get another job to bring home almost $1,000 in additional funds. How much is allotted for child care while such people are toiling for 70 and 80 hours a week? Zero. Which means that parents who work at McDonald's get to choose between not making it to work or sticking their child in some ad hoc, unstable and potentially dangerous arrangement with a willing friend or relative."
At the Atlantic, Jordan Weissman noted that minimum wage employees actually do get significant social service support, especially if they have chidlren. "There are programs like food stamps, Medicaid and the earned income tax credit to help them along," Weissmann noted, "But that's sort of the point. When large companies make profits by paying their workers unlivable wages, we end up subsidizing their bottom lines."
Think Progress scanned the budget and reported that none of the numbers are really workable. McDonald's responded to criticsm from Think Progress with a statement, the organization reported.
“In an effort to provide free, comprehensive money management tools, McDonald’s first used the Wealth Watchers International budgeting journal when this financial literacy program launched in 2008," the McDonald's statement reads.
"As part of this program, several resources were developed including a sample budgeting guide, an instructional video and a web resource center that had additional tools and information."
"The samples that are on this site are generic examples and are intended to help provide a general outline of what an individual budget may look like.”