McDonald’s Corporation recently partnered with Visa Corporate to publish a website for all of its regular employees that features a sample monthly budget journal, in what seems to be an attempt to help employees allocate their monthly earnings. The budget, meant by McDonald’s and Visa to be a helpful tool for their employees, actually highlights how difficult it is for minimum-wage workers to make a living. A regular employee of McDonald’s is paid an average of $8.25 an hour, which is a dollar over the federal minimum wage.

The budget, which estimates a minimum-wage employee’s monthly income at $2,060, and includes a second monthly income from another job, not only is an inaccurate view of what it’s like to live on a minimum-wage budget, but also omits basic living necessities, essentially suggesting that those items are not of priority.

The budget sample highly underestimates the costs of living expenses, listing a mortgage/rent payment at $600 monthly while the national average for housing is approximately $1500 a month. McDonald’s budget lists healthcare costs at $20 a month. McDonald’s does offer bottom-line, basic health coverage for less than $14 a week to its employees, but the budget does not factor in the cost of a more substantial, private health insurance premium. Even worse, the budget does not add in the cost for heating, gas, food, and clothes, which are all basic living necessities.

While the bigwigs at McDonald’s and Visa might have written the budget with good intentions, the budget implies that minimum-wage workers must pick up a second job and work unrealistic hours to afford their bills. Last year, Bloomberg estimated minimum-wage workers would have to work millions of hours to even come close to earning as much as a McDonald’s CEO. This is just an example of insensitivity and greediness by large corporations. McDonald’s pays their regular employees just over minimum wage, while the company rakes in millions of dollars in profit annually.


Krysta Loera is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.