Hungry Jack's is being grilled over a summer work experience opportunity for young people that unions have labelled exploitative.
Burger giant Hungry Jack's has been accused of exploiting a taxpayer-funded program to recruit cheap labour for its Sydney stores over the summer period.
According to the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RFFWU), the fast food chain is using the Federal Government’s PaTH program to hire interns instead of casual workers, who would be paid more.
The union posted an image of the job advertisement on Facebook on Saturday which says Hungry Jack's would offer interns 15 hours per week of work. That would equate to a wage of just $6.60 an hour.
Under the PaTH program, interns work between 15 and 25 hours per week over four to 12 weeks, and receive a $200 payment per fortnight from the Government on top of their regular unemployment benefits. That equates to just $4 an hour.
The Department of Jobs and Small Business website states the taxpayer-funded PaTH program "enables employers to trial a young person in an internship... to see how they fit into the team and if they are suitable for ongoing employment".
Businesses receive an upfront payment of $1000 in recognition of the costs of hosting the internship.
The RFFWU says the original job ad has now been removed.
"The Federal government's $4 per hour "internships" were not supposed to swallow up jobs," the union posted alongside the ad.
"These were real jobs paid by Hungry Jack's but are now paid by the government and guaranteed to be no more than 3 months. An entire seasonal workforce replaced with this rotten program."
Hungry Jack's has since responded to the accusations of exploitation on Twitter.
"From time to time, internships are offered to the long-term unemployed. These internships ... last from four to 12 weeks and aim to assist people in gaining employment," the fast chain said via Twitter statement.
But outrage over the internship offering has erupted on social media.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus called the advertisement a "whopper rip-off".
Twitter user John accused Hungry Jack's of "slavery".
Users also took to the comments of the Facebook post by the RFFWU, with one user recounting her wage from 17 years ago.
Some users have even urged people to boycott the fast food chain.