A McDonald’s store in Oregon is calling on 14- and 15-year-olds to apply for restaurant jobs amid a labor shortage in the United States.
The cafeteria in the city of Medford put up a banner outside two weeks ago asking teens to register, which is in line with local labor law.
This comes at a time when fast food chains and other establishments in the United States are struggling to fill vacancies.
Heather Kennedy, the operator of the Medford restaurant, told Business Insider that the staff shortage is “unprecedented” in the 40-year history of her family’s McDonald’s franchise.
Initially, she tried to attract more workers by raising the restaurant’s pay to $15 (R$77.50) an hour, but says it didn’t generate enough interest.
However, Kennedy said he has received more than 25 new applications since opening his doors for the Under-16s.
Salary, Bonuses and Benefits
McDonald’s declined to comment on the move, but told the BBC that its franchisees are using a range of measures to deal with staff shortages, including better pay, signing bonuses and more benefits.
McDonald’s also recently announced that it will increase wages at company-owned restaurants across the United States by an average of $15 an hour.
This is not the first fast food chain to ask young workers to fill vacancies.
Burger King and Wendy’s branches have made similar gestures recently. And, according to reports, the Texan network taking over Chicken Fingers is promoting workers in their teens and early 20s to managerial positions amid a shortage of more experienced professionals.
U.S. labor laws vary from state to state, but in Oregon, people age 14 and older can do non-hazardous work such as food service, as long as their hours are limited to accommodate studies. And there are enough rest breaks.
However, it appears to be rare – the average age of a McDonald’s employee in the United States is 27, according to a survey by job site Zippia.
Currently, there is a severe labor shortage in the United States, as fears of COVID-19, school closures and a lack of day care keep workers at home.
Some economists also blamed the generous federal benefits offered during the pandemic, even though they have already been exhausted in many states.
Vacancies have been particularly difficult to fill for low-skilled, low-paying jobs, prompting companies like Walmart and Amazon to offer retention bonuses and higher starting salaries.