McDonald’s in Ireland and the UK is closing its restaurants by 7pm on 23 March, in response to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. But employees in its franchised outlets in the US still have to go to work. And that’s even if they’re sick. Otherwise, they’ll lose a day’s pay. This is despite recent changes to paid sick leave legislation in the US.
The flaws of the new legislation were best expressed by a McDonald’s shift manager in Kansas City, Fran Marion. Marion told her story in a heartfelt video. Later in the video, she highlighted why sick pay must be a guaranteed right at all times:
Heartbreaking. Infuriating. https://t.co/ETF1MasF6L
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 22, 2020
In this emotional video, Marion explains how she works for $11.50 per hour, and that a day off sick means a day without pay. This in turn affects her ability to provide for her family and keep a roof over their heads.
Marion warns us about the recent change to paid sick leave legislation saying:
But you guys, don’t be fooled. That’s only for corporate-owned McDonald’s. But 95% of McDonald’s are franchised stores, including my store, so that does not benefit us whatsoever.
On 18 March, Donald Trump signed an emergency aid package into law that would mean paid sick leave for US workers and free diagnostic testing for the coronavirus. But the major flaws in this legislation exclude people like Marion.
Lots of people responded to the video to express support. This included congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:
Thank you for speaking up and leading, Fran Marion.
You deserve paid sick leave, and any multi-billion dollar corporation telling you they “can’t afford it” is wrong. https://t.co/g22IsVgrRX
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 22, 2020
Bravo to Fran Marion for advocating for herself and her colleagues. This is shameful. https://t.co/TD2ia7tBvJ
— Ashleigh Lovett (@ac_lovett) March 23, 2020
I’m learning quickly what companies I will not be purchasing from again once this is over!
— Mcfriar (@mcfriarauthor) March 22, 2020
Should we boycott McDonald's? I say yes!
— Miss Lady (@thiccey_secrets) March 22, 2020
Much respect to Fran Marion, the McDonald’s shift manager in this video, who is very courageous for doing this and absolutely right. https://t.co/vlW6JeHAYx
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) March 22, 2020
Change in legislation
Even if the US legislation did include Marion, she reminds us that this would only cover the coronavirus period; there would be no cover for her outside of this period. But it’s possible for companies to change this. She says one restaurant chain decided to accelerate the rollout of its sick pay scheme. The scheme was already planned to go ahead, but it was fast-tracked because of the pandemic.
Paid sick leave should be a basic employment right; and not only for the health of the employees. Because the pandemic our planet is currently grappling with shows how everybody’s health is connected.
Featured image via Twitter – NYT
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