mcdonald's

McDonald's gives workers advice on tipping au pairs, trainers, dog-walkers

Dec. 5, 2013 at 4:49 PM ET

Joe Ben Johnson III holds a sign outside McDonald's in Los Angeles, California, December 5, 2013. Organizers say fast food workers will strike in 100 ...
LUCY NICHOLSON / Reuters
Joe Ben Johnson outside a McDonald's in Los Angeles on Thursday during a protest calling for $15 per hour for fast food workers. McDonald's meanwhile incongruously included advice on tipping on its resources web site for employees.

Fast-food giant McDonald's has committed another employee advice blunder, listing pricey suggestions for tipping au pairs, personal fitness trainers and pool cleaners on its worker resource website.

This advice comes as fast-food workers from 100 cities across the nation push for $15-an-hour pay, a far cry from the wages most earn, in a mass strike on Thursday.

The tipping guide from etiquette maven Emily Post on McDonald's website lists several high-ticket suggestions for givers during the holiday season, including "a gift from your family (or one week's pay), plus a small gift from your child" for an au pair, "one day's pay" for a housekeeper and "cost of one cleaning" for a pool cleaner.

The site also lists suggestions for dog walkers, massage therapists and personal fitness trainers.

In an email to CNBC, McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb said: "This is content provided by a third-party partner and quotes from one of the best-known etiquette gurus, Emily Post. We continue to review the resource and will ask the vendor to make changes as needed."

In total, the tips add up to hundreds, if not more than a thousand dollars of gift suggestions for McDonald's workers, many of whom earn just above minimum wage. To be fair, though, the restaurant chain does advise employees, "What you give, if anything at all, should be dictated by your relationship with the serviceperson, how often you utilize the services, and most importantly, your budget."

These tips would be far out of the budget for many employees since on average, U.S. food-preparation and serving workers, including those in fast food, earn $9 an hour, according to May 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The tone-deaf advice is the latest is a series of gaffes surrounding its employee resource site. Last month, McDonald's suggested employees get out of holiday season debt by returning unopened purchases. Earlier, it published a budget guide that included no money for heat and $20 a month for health care.

Update: The McDonald's tipping article appears to have been removed by mid-afternoon Thursday following CNBC's post.

Debating the effects of a $15 fast-food wage


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