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article imageStudy: Low-paid fast food workers cost $3.8 billion per year

By Mike White     Oct 17, 2013 in Business
Low-paid fast-food workers in the United States cost taxpayers about $4 billion a year because of the federal subsidies they receive, according to a new study. A total of 52% of non-management workers in the fast-food receive some type of subsidy.
The Consumerist reported the study shows it may be hard for employees to support themselves from the wages they receive from their jobs.
The report from the National Employment Law Project compared how much money is paid in social welfare benefits to employees who work at the nation’s 10 largest fast food chains. All of the employees who were compared in the study work in non-management positions.
The study showed McDonald’s workers receive $1.2 billion of the $4 billion total in public assistance from taxpayers. Those who work for Yum! Brands received the next most assistance— including Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC — totaling about $648 million annually. The next in the top five included Subway ($436 million), Burger King ($356 million) and Wendy’s ($278 million).
“The overwhelming share of jobs in the fast-food industry pay low wages that force millions of workers to rely on public assistance in order to afford health care, food, and other basic necessities,” the report stated. It added that also pointed out that many of the companies examined have enough profits to pay workers more. In fact, they could pay enough the wages would equal what their wages plus and what they receive in subsidies equals.
The National Employment Law Project is one of the agencies that has been pushing for an increase in the national minimum wage. It has also been pushing for an increase in wages to fast food workers.
The Huffington Post reported that the National Restaurant Association, a trade group representing more than 500,000 restaurants, claimed the report was biased. It claimed that when the researchers' decided to consider the Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax break given to working, low-income families, the findings were inflated.
McDonald's issued a statement that claimed it offers thousands of jobs that offer a chance for advancement.
Time reported that 2.3 million workers are employed at the non-managerial jobs at the ten largest fast food companies.
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