SINCE 1988

McDonald’s adds a Child Labor Survey to Franchisee Standards Process


McDonald’s is going to begin surveying its U.S. franchisees about their child labor practices as the company has navigated several child labor law violations in the past several years. Bloomberg reports the new step will be added to help uphold compliance in light of these violations, and adds that the company will increase its focus on “employee and brand protection by incorporating topics such as responsible recruitment and workplace safety for minors.”

Last year, McDonald’s added mandatory workplace standards for all of its domestic locations. The company told Bloomberg the survey is being added to determine if additional trainings or other resources are necessary.

Notably, this added step comes just before the National Labor Relations Board Joint Employer rule is set to go into place in February, which would deem McDonald’s and other franchisors liable for labor terms and conditions. A bill was recently introduced in Congress to overturn this rule.

McDonald’s franchisees have been fined in the past year in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas for child labor violations. In Kentucky, three franchisees were ordered to pay over $212,000 in civil penalty fines after a Department of Labor investigation found over 300 minors – including two 10-year-olds – working more than their legally permitted hours.

Further, from 2020 through 2022, McDonald’s operators in North CarolinaIdaho and San Diego were also slapped with child labor fines.

Notably, McDonald’s isn’t the only restaurant chain that has been slapped with child labor fines. In the past year alone, Chick-fil-A, Little Caesars and Chipotle have as well. McDonald’s, Subway and Dunkin’ have the most violations, according to the Department of Labor.

Child labor law violations have become increasingly common in the quick-service segment as restaurants grapple with staffing shortages. So far in fiscal year 2023, there have been 955 child labor violations cases, compared to 835 in fiscal year 2022 and 747 in fiscal year 2021. The number of minors employed in the violation is nearly 2,000 more than fiscal year 2022.


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