Here’s an interesting story about how McDonald’s Corp. is urging franchises to remain open on Christmas Day. Workers would be paid their regular rate, of course — minimum wage or a bit more. Working the holiday is voluntary, the company says.
Last year, the average McDonald’s that was open on Christmas average $5,500 in sales. The average profit margin for franchisees is around 10 percent. Thus, the franchise owners stand to net about $550 per store open on Christmas, on average.
So let’s do a little math on the lowball side, eh?
Let’s assume they’ll be open for 12 hours, and that it takes 4 staff to keep the place humming, and that they’re all earning minimum wage.
That’s 48 worker hours, or $348 in wages the franchise would spend to earn his or her $550. If they paid traditional OT wages, (time and a half) that would total $552, which means the franchise would earn only $376.
And if they paid traditional holiday OT wages (doubletime) that would leave the workers with $696 in pay, while the franchisee would wind up with only $202.
So the franchise owner more than doubles his or her money by screwing the workers on Christmas — but after all, they are VOLUNTEERS, so they’re not being screwed, right? Keep in mind these are lowball estimates. It’s possible that any profit whatsoever would be eliminated if they paid doubletime wages and if the crew was bigger, or earned a little more, or they were open longer hours.
It’s the direction we’re heading in that’s most concerning about this scenario, however.
Because if that continues, in 5 years it’s not going to be “voluntary” to work the Christmas holiday. Then, RWers will be asking:
“Why should it be voluntary? Why should I have to suffer a loss of $550 in profits simply because my lazy workers want to enjoy the holiday with their families? Those should be assigned days!” By then there will be no question of any holiday pay.
And 5 more years down the road, they will be raising the question: “Why should I have to pay OT to workers who WANT to work more than 40 hours/week? I can’t afford that and it limits their opportunity to earn more. It limits their freedom, and that is wrong!”
And a few years later, the question will morph into this: “Why should I pay sick time? Do you realize how much that costs me ever year? And half the time my lazy SOB workers are faking illness! Sick time encourages sloth, and that is wrong!”
And then the mainstream-conservative questions will veer into the unfairness of the minimum wage (a few idiots are already raising this question now), and child labor laws (ditto) worker safety laws (ditto), and other aspects of employment regulation that seemed settled decades ago. Seeking more and more profit, employers are going to wring them out of the sweat of labor, and there will be workers desperate enough, and inculcated with such a mindset, that they’ll fall for it.
At some point, perhaps then, perhaps sooner, the pendulum will begin swinging back. It always does. The question is, when is that gonna happen?