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Company Response

10 Oct 2023


McDonald's response to Guardian findings of labour exploitation among workers at McDonald's franchises in Saudi Arabia

Statement attributable to McDonald’s Corporation

“These allegations are extremely troubling. Together with our Franchisees, McDonald’s is deeply committed to upholding human rights and cultivating respectful workplaces where everyone is empowered to realize their full potential.  That is why last year, McDonald’s introduced our Responsible and Ethical Recruitment Principles, which provide a consistent approach, above and beyond local laws, regulations, and practices around the world, to protecting migrant workers, including ensuring no migrant worker pays for recruitment fees and related costs to secure their employment. As part of our phased implementation approach, McDonald’s will continue to provide resources and tools to help all of our franchisees ensure these standards are met within their organizations. These principles supplement the long-existing expectations McDonald’s has held for our business, supply chain and all McDonald’s brand restaurants as outlined in our Supplier Code of Conduct, our Standards of Business Conduct, and our Human Rights Policy.”

Please note the below additional background information, which shares important details on our Responsible and Ethical Recruitment Principles as introduced last year (attributable to the company as paraphrase):

  • See here for more information on our Responsible and Ethical Recruitment Principles, which consist of the following five standards. As part of a phased approach, these principles are being implemented at the market level, taking into account the particular details and risks of the communities in which the McDonald’s brand operates.
    • Workers do not pay recruitment fees;
    • Workers are provided contracts in a language fully understandable by the workers at the point of recruitment and prior to deployment;
    • McDonald’s and our franchisees/ Developmental Licensees do not keep or withhold any government-issued identification, monetary deposits, bonding or other collateral as a condition of employment;
    • If workers reside in employer provided housing, there must be a plan for management of safe housing and accommodation, including that it is fit for purpose and in good repair;
    • McDonald’s and our franchisees/ Developmental Licensees apply these standards to themselves and to third parties recruiting and/or managing labor on their behalf.
  • We encourage open and honest communication among our employees and our business partners. Employees of McDonald’s and its majority-owned subsidiaries may raise recruitment-related issues, or report potential or actual responsible recruitment violations through a number of reporting channels, including contacting Human Resources, Business Integrity or the Global Compliance Office.
    • Reports received by the Global Compliance Office of alleged violations of the Standards of Business Conduct or other McDonald’s policies by McDonald’s employees are reviewed and addressed as appropriate.
  • We take our responsibility to respect human rights throughout our value chain seriously. Our commitment is set out in our Human Rights Policy (PDF – 91 KB), which is guided by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the International Bill of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Our Human Rights Policy was developed through a highly consultative process, benchmarking against industry peers and benefiting from third-party guidance, including external human rights experts and stakeholders.