Whataburger Employee's Pay Observation Has TikTok Furious

In this day and age, the topic of fast food employee wages is a hot button issue. There are some people — including those in this USA Today story —  who believe that the position of flipping burgers and making sandwiches isn't a job worth paying above minimum wage for. Others — such as the writer of this op-ed in Newsweek — believe those behind the counters and grills deserve to earn higher wages that will support both them and their families. While both sides have talking points, it can be hard to come to an agreement — let alone a compromise. While some fast food companies such as McDonald's have begun taking steps to increase minimum wage (via CNBC), it is still an uncertain future for those who support increased pay and those who do not.

Some companies continue to garner controversy over their employee wages. A viral TikTok video — which is now private — of a fast food restaurant in Kent, Washington displayed a number of workers who made $20 an hour (via Newsweek). This reportedly led to debates in the clip's comments over the perceived high amount the employees were paid, with some claiming that it was fit for livable wage while others claimed that it was simply too high for a small business to pay. In December 2021, Texas-based burger chain Whataburger also became the subject of debate for many TikTok users, after an employee posted a clip discussing the concerning amount of pay he lost after missing one day of work. 

This employee was docked $250 for missing one day

"Miss one day at work and your check missing $250 but work an extra day and it only adds $8." This was the text overlay of TikTok user gleez100's video, in which he wears a Whataburger uniform and stands outside one of the chain's restaurants. gleez100 claimed that their pay was docked $250 for missing a day of work, while also pointing out that they would only get a small $8 bonus for working a day they weren't scheduled.

TikTok users were both furious and sympathetic to gleez100's complaints. "It's like grades at school: miss one thing it drops like 20 points, turn something in it goes up 4," was the snarky reply of one commentator. "I work at whataburger as a manager, 100k a year in our area," another user said. "But let me miss one day and I make 10k a year." Some users, while sympathetic, claimed that the missing money was from taxes.

"At times it's bc [because] it tricks the system into thinking ur [you're] in a higher tax bracket they take a larger %," claimed one user, telling gleez100 that they will get it back. Other commentators noted that the more they work, the more money will be taken out. Texas is one of nine states without individual income tax (via Forbes), but the Whataburger they allegedly work at could be in a state that does tax income.