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McDonald's Just Made This Big Policy Change at Company-Owned Restaurants

The chain will begin rolling out salary increases for crew members and shift managers.

McDonald's has announced this week that it will be raising the minimum hourly wage for its workers at corporate-owned locations. The decision comes as the fast-food industry continues to struggle with labor shortages that are slowing down the post-pandemic recovery.

The chain announced in a press release on Thursday that it will increase entry-level wages for crew members to $11–$17 per hour, depending on location. Starting salaries for shift managers will be increased to $15–$20 per hour. These increases will boost salaries by about 10% and are expected to roll out in the upcoming months.

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"Our first value is taking care of our people, and today we are rewarding our hardworking employees in McDonald-owned restaurants for serving our communities," said Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald's USA. "These actions further our commitment to offering one of the leading pay and benefits packages in the industry."

The changes will affect some 36,500 employees in 650 locations. McDonald's owns about 5% of its U.S. restaurants, while the rest are owned and operated by its vast network of franchisees. Pay increases at those locations are up to individual operators.

But even The National Owners Association (NOA), a major independent association of McDonald's franchisees, advised its members in a letter this week to "do whatever it takes" to keep their restaurants staffed. NOA's board said franchisees would need to invest more in pay and benefits for their employees—even if it means having to increase menu prices as a result.

The new pay raise still won't bring the minimum wage to $15 at all locations. According to the press release, some restaurants have or will reach an average rate of $15 an hour this year, while others will get there by 2024, the company said.

But McDonald's workers are tired of waiting. The group behind the Fight For $15 movement, which is demanding a fair minimum wage for all McDonald's employees, said it won't back down.

"We know McDonald's can afford to raise pay to $15/hr for every single employee, not just some employees at corporate-owned and operated stores," Fight for $15 said in a statement viewed by Business Insider. "We're ready to continue our fight to win $15 for every worker across the country. "

The group is organizing a strike at McDonald's locations in 15 major cities across the country on May 19. For more, check out McDonald's Is Standing Behind This Decision That's Disappointed Customers, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Deputy News Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura