McDonald’s announces raises for 36,500 employees

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A sign stands outside of a McDonald’s restaurant February 9, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — McDonald’s announced raises for 36,500 hourly employees Thursday. A news release says they average out to a 10% increase. The company says it’s on track to average at least $15 per hour for all employees by 2024.

The fast-food giant says this pay bump brings their entry-level starting wage up to at least $11-17 per hour, depending on the location.

“Based on this trajectory of the current marketplace, McDonald’s expects the average hourly wage for its company-owned restaurants to increase to $15 an hour in a phased, market-by-market approach,” the release said.

This comes after President Joe Biden attempted to raise the national minimum wage to $15 per hour as part of the coronavirus stimulus package he signed in March. That provision was taken out because the Senate parliamentarian ruled it wasn’t eligible for special reconciliation rules the Democrats used to pass the law with fewer than 60 votes in the upper chamber.

It also happens at a time when more states and cities are easing indoor dining capacity limits. Even big states controlled by Democrats, like Califonria, New York and Illinois, have announced plans to remove them by early summer.

Thousands of McDonald’s locations worldwide had to close entirely for months in the spring of 2020, which led to a 39% dip in sales that April compared to the same month in 2019.

The company has also been experimenting with its traditional food lineup. In November, they announced a “McPlant” burger made without meat. It was tested in Canada, but is not yet widely available in the U.S.

McDonald’s is also taking its former chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, to court over allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships with employees. This came after the company paid him severance. They said he did not give them a complete picture of what was happening when he left the company.

The company’s current president, Joe Erlinger, said the wage increase proved their commitment to their employees.

“Our first value is taking care of our people, and today we are rewarding our hardworking employees in McDonald-owned restaurants for serving our communities,” Erlinger wrote in the news release.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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