Family contracts are not there to reduce absence

There are some fundamental inaccuracies in your legal analysis feature about McDonald’s family contracts (Personnel Today, 28 February).

Richie Alder states that the family contract involves “employing three people where one would suffice”, and points out the “potential risks of employing more than one worker on a single contract”. But that is not actually how the family contract works.

McDonald’s does not actively recruit several members of the same family to share one employment contract. The contract actually enables two existing McDonald’s employees, from the same family, working in the same McDonald’s restaurant, to cover each other’s shifts with no prior notice. Therefore, each employee has their own employment contract, and the family contract simply provides them with permission to use the
extra degree of flexibility it affords.

It is this flexibility to help our employees juggle their busy lives that lies at the heart of this innovation – not an attempt to reduce absenteeism, as Alder suggests. In fact, our absence rates are very low – on average, 1.25 days per employee last year – and staff turnover is at an all-time low for McDonald’s in the UK.

The family contract is ultimately about recognising and responding to the pressures our employees face in their day-to-day lives, whether it’s the 16- to 21-year-olds who make up 60% of our workforce, and may be juggling studies with a part-time job, or mums who may be caring for young children and elderly relatives.

David Fairhurst
Vice-president, people
McDonald’s

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