McDonald’s Increases Tuition Benefits Following Tax Windfall

McDonald’s Corp is planning to inject $150 million into its tuition assistance programs for its employees in the U.S., becoming the most recent corporate behemoth to use the overhaul of corporate taxes to increase benefits.

This money will help to make more than 400,000 workers at McDonald’s restaurants eligible for its program, said the fast food giant Thursday.

In order to qualify for the program, workers will need to just be working with the company for the last 90 days, which is down from a previous nine months, and work a minimum of 15 hours per week, which is down from a previous minimum of 20 hours per week.

This infusion of money, which will be paid during a five-year period, triples the spending level currently taking place by the company.

This move helps the Archways to Opportunity program which is an effort that began three years ago to aid its workers in earning a high school diploma, pay for tuition at college or to learn to speak better English.

Restaurant chains have come under heavy pressure to increase benefits as they grapple with a much tighter labor market.

In January, Starbucks announced that it was spending as much as $250 million on new perks for workers, including a raise in pay and in paid sick time.

During February, the unemployment rate in the U.S. remained at 4.1%, which is the lowest that it has been in the last 18 years, and considered by economists as being full employment.

Noodles & Co., a restaurant chain, recently increased its employee benefits, adding six weeks of maternity leave that is paid, and $1,000 per year for assistance with student loans for its managers.

CEO at McDonald’s Steve Easterbrook said that the fight to hire talent continues. He added that it was going to become increasingly more challenging to attract talent you want at your business, and then it will be important to work very hard through both development and training to keep them.

Crew members at McDonald’s can now get as much as $2,500 annually in help for tuition, which is up from a previous $700. Managers will be able to receive up to $3,000 annually in comparison to only $1,050 earlier.

The company, based in Oak Brooke, Illinois cited the changes in the U.S. tax system that lowered corporate rates from 35% to 21%.