Hungry Jack’s has been slammed for ‘a whopper of a rip off ‘ by exploiting a taxpayer-funded internship program.
The program involves young workers earning $4 an hour – paid by the federal government.
It therefore allows the fast food giant to effectively fill its summer workforce positions without having to pay any wages.
‘A whopper rip off’ – how it works
The government says the internships help unemployed people under the age of 25 into the workforce.
Under the program, interns work up to 25-hours a week for up to three months.
In exchange, they then receive $200 a fortnight from the federal government on top of their standard unemployment benefits.
The amount is the equivalent of $4 an hour on top of their regular payments.
What the ad says
Hungry Jack’s placed newspaper ads recently calling for people to apply under the internship scheme, promising 15-hours a week across its Sydney stores:
“Hungry Jack’s stores are ramping up recruitment for Christmas – and are looking to help young people with their first job.”
The union response
The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union expressed anger about the program on its Facebook page:
“The Federal Government’s $4 per hour ‘internships’ are not supposed to swallow up jobs.
“This year Hungry Jack’s literally replaced its Christmas casual hires with the taxpayer funded internships.
“These were real jobs paid by Hungry Jack’s, but are now paid by the Government and guaranteed to be no more than three months.
“An entire seasonal workforce replaced with this rotten program.”
Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus also slammed the scheme, posting on Twitter that it is a “whopper rip-off”.
What Hungry Jack’s says
Hungry Jack’s subsequently denied to News Corp that it employs interns in a statement:
“Currently, the corporation is not advertising for interns and employs no interns in its restaurants.
“From time to time, internships are offered to the long-term unemployed.
“These internships, part of the Federal Government’s Youth Job Path Program, last from 4 to 12 weeks and aim to assist people in gaining employment.”
What the experts say
However, Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at IR Claims, says it’s inappropriate for Hungry Jack’s to use a government funded program to fill positions in its stores.
“Employing people under these internships not only takes extra shifts away from regular staff, they also deny jobs that would normally go to other workers,” he said.
“Legitimate internships are a great way for people to get training and hopefully also a job.
“However, businesses often use them to exploit vulnerable young people, so they can save a few bucks with cheap labour.”
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