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Leaked McDonald’s Recording Shows Fast Food Company Is 'Fighting Against Parts Of’ Trump's Coronavirus Bill ‘That Would Give Workers Paid Sick Leave’

Fast-Food Chains ‘Have Faced Backlash About Workers' Vulnerability’ During The Coronavirus Outbreak - Estimated 517,000 Employees At McDonald's Locations ‘Don't Have’ Paid Sick Leave

Published Thursday, March 19, 2020
by Kate Taylor/Business Insider
Leaked McDonald’s Recording Shows Fast Food Company Is 'Fighting Against Parts Of’ Trump's Coronavirus Bill ‘That Would Give Workers Paid Sick Leave’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - McDonald's pushed for changes to a Coronavirus Relief Bill that would require its restaurants across the U.S. - 95% which are owned by franchisees - to give Workers two weeks of Paid Sick Leave, describing it as an effort to protect franchisees' financials.

The Fast-Food Giant has been lobbying the Trump Administration and Congress to alter a Bill that would require employers with 50 to 500 Workers to provide two weeks of Paid Sick Leave, executives said on an internal conference call earlier this week.

McDonald's has pushed back against plans to use a tax credit to cover the cost, which executives said would fail to protect franchisees.

"We know that the funding mechanism and the repayment timing could cripple small-business owners," David Tovar, McDonald's Vice President of U.S. Communications, said on the call, a recording of which was obtained by Business Insider.

Tovar said McDonald's was "pulling out all the stops to work with" the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance, "owner-operators, our trade partners, our friends in Congress, Congressional Leaders, and anyone who can make a difference to fix the bill."

A McDonald's Rep told Business Insider the company was not opposed to the Bill itself: "To be clear, McDonald's supports the Bill that would provide sick leave support to Employees impacted by Coronavirus, and in fact, McDonald's and many of its franchise owners have already committed to offer those same benefits to potentially diagnosed Employees.  At the same time, we are sensitive to the economic pressures independent owner-operators face and are supportive of efforts to ensure they have the cash flow needed to keep their Employees working."

McDonald's leadership, along with other fast-food executives, spoke with Republican President Donald Trump on Tuesday (March 17th) about the response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

In a speech that afternoon, Trump praised companies' drive-thru and delivery efforts.

McDonald's leadership also spoke with members of the Trump Administration, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, to discuss concerns about the Bill.

Tovar said that he was "encouraged" by Mnuchin's comments and that the Trump Administration was open to feedback from McDonald's.

The fast-food industry has faced criticism for its lack of Paid Sick Leave amid the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Several restaurant chains and retailers have recently changed their Sick Leave Policies to allow for two weeks of paid leave for Employees who are quarantined or have COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

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