A MCDONALD'S restaurant has resorted to hiring children as it is struggling to recruit staff.
One branch in Medford, Oregon, has hung up a giant banner asking 14 and 15-year-olds to apply as it faces unprecedented shortages.
Store operator Heather Coleman told Business Insider: "There are always staffing issues, but this is unheard of."
Coleman, whose family has operated McDonald's franchises for 40 years, added that employing a younger cohort has actually been "a blessing in disguise".
"They have the drive and work ethic. They get the technology. They catch on really quickly," she said.
Around 25 people applied for roles in two weeks, though she hopes this will rise.
Labor laws for minors vary by state, but the Department of Labour set the minimum age for working in non-agricultural sectors at 14.
Many teens work in fast food restaurants to save some extra cash – and they are entitled to be paid the same minimum wage as other workers.
However, when under the age of 20, they can get as little as $4.25 an hour for up to 90 days of training.
McDonald's isn't the only chain looking to hire younger people as they deal with staff shortages and a high turnover of staff.
A similar sign offering work to 14 and 15-year-olds was erected at an Ohio Burger King earlier this year.
It read: "Do you have a 14 or 15-year-old? Do they need a job? We will hire them!"
And Texas chicken chain Layne's Chicken Fingers is promoting workers in their teens and early 20s to management positions in which they can earn more than $50,000.
CEO Garrett Reed said he is relying on those aged 16 and 17 to run newer stores because he is struggling to retain older workers.
He told The Wall Street Journal: "We're so thin at leadership that we can't stretch anymore to open more locations.
"I've got a good crop of 16 and 17-year-olds, but I need another year or two to get them seasoned to run stores."
'MAKES ME SICK'
A photo of the Medford McDonald's banner divided opinion on Reddit.
Some users thought it was a great idea for "some extra pocket money".
One person said: "Why is this a bad thing? If 15 year olds want some money, this is great.
"I worked at that age to be able to get things I wanted. So what? It is their choice."
But others said they were strongly against the idea of "child labor", with one person commenting: "I drive past this sign most days during work. Makes me sick every time."
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