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Tech & Science Leaked documents reveal McDonald's response to insiders' worries about a 'black-eye' for its reputation over sick leave amid the coronavirus outbreak

14:22  01 april  2020
14:22  01 april  2020 Source:   businessinsider.com.au

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McDonald ' s has faced scrutiny over its approach to sick leave amid the coronavirus outbreak , prompting worries about a " black - eye in the media" from Business Insider obtained a version of the document , released on Thursday, that discussed recent concerns regarding the chain's reputation .

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a black sign with white text: McDonald's is being slammed by critics. McDonald's is being slammed by critics.

McDonald's has been slammed by critics recently, prompting worries from some insiders about negative publicity and a "black-eye in the media."

The fast-food giant has been continually updating an internal document of COVID-19-related frequently asked questions. The document is intended to keep franchisees and employees informed, covering everything from sick workers to the company's media spending.

Business Insider obtained a version of the document, released on Thursday, that discussed recent concerns regarding the chain's reputation.

One McDonald's insider posed a question about "negative publicity" on McDonald's sick leave policies.

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In response, McDonald's highlighted a blog post from US president Joe Erlinger and an upcoming letter to the editor running in The New York Times, by Dave Tovar, the chain's head of US communications. (The letter ran on Friday and discussed McDonald's support of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which requires many companies to provide paid sick leave.)

"[W]e're continuing to answer any questions and clarify our position on these things," the document states. "The other good thing, and I've had a lot of conversations with operators about this is, we know that people are taking care of their employees. We just know that."

"That's what this system is all about, and that's what we're going to continue doing, so we just have to continue to message that," the answer continues. "We know that there's going to be critics out there, but we're going to keep our head up, we're going to keep focusing on what really matters, and serving customers and serving our communities."

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Leaked documents reveal McDonald ' s response to insiders ' worries about a ' black - eye ' for its reputation over sick leave amid the 2 working parents from Michigan reveal the family schedule that allows them to work at least 4 to 6 hours a day from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

McDonald's has seen significant backlash to its sick leave policies. While McDonald's typically allows workers to earn up to five days of paid sick leave annually, many of the chain's franchisees - who operate roughly 95% of locations in the US - do not. A recent New York Times opinion piece estimated that 517,000 McDonald's workers do not have paid sick leave, citing surveys from 2018 to 2019 by The Shift Project.

McDonald's rolled out a new sick leave policy to give workers in company-owned stores two week of paid sick leave if they are exposed to or have been infected with the coronavirus. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will require franchisees with between 50 and 500 workers to do the same.

The chain received further backlash in response to Business Insider's reporting on the company's opposition to certain aspects of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. While the article reported that a McDonald's representative said the chain supported the act, but opposed its funding mechanism, critics felt the chain's action on sick leave were insufficient.

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Worries about getting a 'black-eye in the media'

In another question in the internal document, a McDonald's insider asked: "How can we compete with competitors who are offering paid leave, such as Starbucks? This is giving us a black-eye in the media."

The question prompted a similar answer, stating that McDonald's has taken "significant precautions to protect our customers and employees from COVID-19: closing many of our dine-in sections, closing all play areas, increasing cleanings, particularly in high-traffic areas, and making hand sanitizer available in our restaurants."

McDonald's also addressed an instance in which it was mocked on social media this week, in response to McDonald's Brazil running a campaign in which the Golden Arches were separated to promote social distancing.

"This activation launched in Brazil and has received mixed feedback: initially positive of our brand's social distancing messaging, later more negative as consumers are now viewing it as opportunistic," the internal FAQ stated.

McDonald's declined to comment on the information obtained by Business Insider. McDonald's Brazil apologised for "any misunderstanding of the intent to remind our customers and communities on the importance of social distancing during these uncertain times," when asked for comment on the campaign.

"As a brand that operates in nearly 120 countries, we share a collective responsibility to help our communities in times of need," McDonald's Brazil said in a statement. "Throughout the world, we are modifying operations to adhere to social distancing guidelines and increasing our already strong hygiene standards to protect restaurant crew and the public. "

In another part of the FAQ, McDonald's said that it is researching "the phases of the crisis, its crisis, recovery, revival and then ongoing business as usual." The chain said it will try to take a "hopeful tone" as it addresses the pandemic.

"A big focus has been communities, and we should never forget that," the internal document reads. "What we are stressing right now and into recovery, is that we really need to be proactively conserving our investment, and just reinforcing that McDonald's is open, and how you can get our food, how you can best access our food."

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