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McDonalds tells workers how to budget

Pay Day
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 19: A McDonald's employee prepares an order during a one-day hiring event at a McDonald's restaurant on April 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Hundreds of job seekers filled out applications and were interviewed at a San Francisco McDonald's restaurant during a one-day nationwide event at the chain as they look to fill 50,000 positions at stores nationwide. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

When the phrase “do you want fries with that?” is part of your job it’s likely your salary is making it tough to make ends meet.

That’s probably why McDonald’s got together with Visa to help it low-wage workers better budget, setting up a website for its employees that offers advice on everything from tracking spending to setting financial goals.

However, critics are quick to point out a number of flaws in the strategy, including the sample budget McDonald's offers that sets aside $0 for heating bills (that clearly isn’t practical in Canada) and suggests getting a second job.

A video poking fun at the budget plan points out that the McDonald’s “Practical Money Skills” budget journal also forgets to factor in such necessities as water, clothing, gas, and child care, to name a few.

It also points out that to make the McDonald's sample budget work, employees need to make $15 an hour before taxes (in the U.S.) to keep out of the red each month.

In Canada, where minimum wage ranges from $9.75 in Alberta to $11 in Nunavut, that just won’t cut it either.

A U.S. workers’ rights group called Low Pay is Not OK, says the minimum wage of $7.25 that fast-food companies such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King pay in America is unacceptable.

According to Bloomberg, fast-food workers in the U.S. trailed other low-wage occupations, with median earnings in 2009 to 2011 at $18,564, compared with $19,099 for childcare and $20,101 for cashiers, citing U.S. government data.

The Low Pay is Not OK group calls the McDonald’s budget advice for its employees “unbelievable,” also challenging the $600 is lists for rent – when apartment is places such as New York can cost several thousand dollars a month.

The group is lobbying not only for higher wages, but the right to forms unions for fast-food workers without fear of retaliation.

While the fast-food giant claims its budget plan for employees is “one of the many ways McDonald's is creating a satisfying and rewarding work environment,” workers are wondering why company doesn’t start by paying them more.