A few months ago, the hot topic in employment news was the McDonald’s announcement regarding wage increases for its fast-food workers. The news was received with elation by thousands of workers across the country who had fought for months to raise wages in an industry that has historically offered little compensation to its workers.
The news did not come without its drawback though. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the wage increase only affects employees who work for corporate-run restaurants, which excludes approximately 90 percent of McDonald’s chains. For the vast majority of restaurants, honoring the wage increase will be left up to franchise owners who may be under no obligation to increase wages depending on the terms of their franchise agreements.
Because compensation for fast-food workers is so low, poverty is oftentimes common, leaving workers struggling to make ends meet. For months after the McDonald’s decision, some worried that the trend of poverty would continue unabated for generations to come. If you’ve been paying attention to the news though, you know that things could change for fast-food workers in New York if Governor Cuomo gets his way.
In a recent push, Cuomo announced a plan to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 over the next few years. The plan is indiscriminate of franchises, meaning those McDonald’s workers left out by the corporate wage increase a few months ago could find respite in the new law if it gets passed. Unfortunately, some franchise owners are fighting back against Cuomo’s plan, calling it “unfair and discriminatory.”
Whether the issue is regarding McDonald’s attempt to offer more compensation to workers or Cuomo’s push for fair compensation across the food service industry, one thing is clear: business owners affected by these changes need to make sure that they are abiding by the law. If they don’t, they could face civil litigation brought forward by workers who recognize that their employee rights are being violated.