By now you’ve heard all about it: Staffing at all restaurants, from fast food to sit-down spots, corporate chains and independent businesses, has been absolutely brutal. Some chains are even resorting to calling applicants who applied years ago. Many restaurant workers have left the profession for other fields (myself included), leaving some restaurants struggling. (The moral of the story is, please be patient right now. It’s gonna be a while until this all gets sorted out.)
Many chains have finally started offering better pay, which has been enough to attract some employees. But one McDonald’s in Medford, Oregon, is at the point where it’s now putting out a job call to a different demographic altogether: younger teenagers.
WKBN reports that a banner hung up outside the location reads, “Now Hiring: 14 & 15-year-olds.” The pay, advertised on the banner, starts at $15 an hour. Of course, the snag is that there are labor laws in effect that restrict when and how long minors can work. In Oregon, the minimum age for a minor worker is 14, though they don’t need a work permit to get a job. Oregon law also states that 14- and 15-year-olds can’t work during school hours, work more than three hours on school days, and also can’t work more than eight hours on the other days not spent in school. Plus, they can only work between 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with a short exception between June 1 and Labor Day.
My first job was in a shoe store working in a stock room with my best friend. I didn’t start working in a kitchen until I was in my 30s, and knowing what I know now, I’m not entirely sure I would have been able to handle it as a kid. My local McDonald’s is busy as hell all day, and I can only imagine that working in a fast food kitchen would be brutal for anybody, especially a teenager who’s working what would likely be one of their first jobs. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw signs like this pop up in other areas, because this staff shortage situation is far from over. Have you seen anything like this at fast food spots near you?