How Aussie McDonald's Pays $15 an Hour

And what we can learn from it: Jordan Weissmann

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 6, 2013 1:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Stateside McDonald's workers want their pay hiked to $15 an hour—which should sound pretty familiar to Australians working at the same restaurant. The Aussie minimum wage is $14.50, and plenty of McDonald's staffers make more than that. On top of that, they've just scored a 15% raise by 2017. But Big Macs in the country cost just 6 cents to 70 cents more than they do here. How does that work out? asks Jordan Weissmann in the Atlantic. For starters, there are some catches.

Australian teens aren't subject to the minimum wage, so 16-year-old workers often make just $8 an hour—and McDonald's has a lot of them. Meanwhile, the chain may be getting more work out of fewer workers, through boosted productivity or replacing employees with computers. Then there's Australia's early adoption of pricier items like McCafe, which has been around since 1993 in the country. Australia could potentially serve as a model for reforming McDonald's here—but it would take time for the company to build a new business model, Weissmann notes. Click for his full piece.

Demonstrators in support of fast food workers protest outside a McDonald's Monday, July 29, 2013, in New York's Union Square.
Demonstrators in support of fast food workers protest outside a McDonald's Monday, July 29, 2013, in New York's Union Square.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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