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Burger King's biggest franchisee is cutting wages as fast-food workers demand hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic

  • Burger King's biggest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group, is cutting employees' pay by 10% amid the coronavirus outbreak, affecting everyone from executives to workers at its 1,000-plus fast-food locations.
  • Some fast-food workers have argued they deserve hazard pay as stores remain open during the coronavirus outbreak and companies such as Target, Costco, and Amazon give workers raises.
  • "I'd rather that we just closed for a little while until things get figured out," an employee at a Carrols-owned Burger King told Business Insider. "Never have I felt a company has committed more injustice than today."
  • A Carrols representative confirmed that the 10% pay cut applied to everyone at the company, from in-store workers and cashiers to executives. A Burger King representative did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Burger King's biggest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group, is cutting workers' wages by 10% amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Carrols, which operates roughly 1,034 Burger King and 65 Popeyes locations, emailed employees on Monday to inform them of the pay cuts.

"[O]ne of the initiatives that we will be implementing is a temporary 10% pay reduction effective Monday March 30, 2020 from your gross pay," wrote Jerry DiGeonva, Carrols' vice president of human resources.

"This is subject to applicable state minimum wage laws," the email continued. "This was a difficult decision to come to, but while this will impact each of us as individual employees of Carrols, it will help us collectively as the Carrols team during this time."

A Carrols representative confirmed that the 10% pay cut applied to everyone at the company, from in-store workers and cashiers to executives. A Burger King representative did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

'Never have I felt a company has committed more injustice than today'

burger king worker

Many companies are considering cost-cutting efforts amid the coronavirus outbreak, with the Harvard Business Review reporting that many are considering layoffs.

An employee who works at a Burger King location owned by Carrols said that on top of the pay cut, he and other employees are having their hours cut. The worker was granted anonymity in order to speak freely; he provided pay stubs to Business Insider to verify his identity and employment.

"Most companies right now are paying their employees extra money for the hazardous conditions that being an 'essential employee' are putting them in," he told Business Insider. "While I am under no disillusion that I am an essential employee ... for some reason fast food has been labeled as such (even though our sales are already down 50% and we are considered one of the busier restaurants in our district)."

Some employees at restaurants, deemed essential businesses in most states during the coronavirus outbreak, are demanding hazard pay during the coronavirus outbreak. More than two dozen workers who spoke with Business Insider voiced concerns that they could catch the coronavirus or spread it in their communities by going to work, but many said they lacked the financial security to quit their jobs.

A number of companies, including Target, Costco, and Amazon, have recently raised pay by $2 as they work to keep up with demand from panicked shoppers. On Friday, Starbucks announced that all workers would be paid whether they go to work or not, with employees who continue to work earning an extra $3 per hour.

"The argument they use is 'well it keeps everyone working as long as possible,'" the Carrols employee working at Burger King said. "The sad truth is that none of the employees want to be working right now. I live with two parents that are in their sixties. I have a history of asthma and problems breathing. I'd rather that we just closed for a little while until things get figured out."

"Never have I felt a company has committed more injustice than today when I read this email," he continued. "The expectations that we are being held to are incredibly foolish."

Get the latest coronavirus analysis and research from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is impacting businesses.

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