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California Fast Food Employees to See Minimum Wage Increase to $20 per Hour

California Fast Food Employees to See Minimum Wage Increase to $20 per Hour

Starting April 1, 2024, a significant change is coming to the wages of fast food employees across California. With the implementation of AB 1228, the minimum wage for many fast food workers will rise to $20 per hour. This law is set to impact employees of fast food restaurants that are part of national chains meeting specific criteria.

The law defines a national fast food chain as a group of limited-service restaurants with more than 60 establishments nationwide, sharing a common brand and primarily engaged in providing food and beverages for immediate consumption. However, certain bakeries and restaurants within grocery stores are exempt from this regulation.

Understanding the New Law: Frequently Asked Questions

What does the new law entail, and who does it affect? AB 1228 increases the minimum wage for fast food employees and establishes a Fast Food Council responsible for future wage adjustments and employment standards.

When does the minimum wage increase take effect? Starting April 1, 2024, fast food employees covered by the law must be paid at least $20.00 per hour.

Are there additional wage credits allowed under this law? No, the law does not authorize additional credits beyond the statewide minimum wage.

Can local governments set higher minimum wages for fast food employees? While cities or counties cannot specifically set a higher minimum wage solely for fast food workers, they can establish a higher general minimum wage applicable to all employees, including those in fast food establishments.

Who is Covered and Who is Exempt?

The law applies to employees of fast food restaurants meeting specific criteria. These restaurants must be limited-service establishments primarily engaged in selling food and beverages for immediate consumption and part of a chain with over 60 locations nationwide.

Franchise owners are also subject to this law. However, exemptions exist for certain establishments, including bakeries producing and selling specific bread items or those within grocery establishments.

Seeking Resolution for Wage Disputes

Employees who believe they are covered by the law but have not received the mandated minimum wage can take legal action to recover wages owed. Options include filing a claim with the Labor Commissioner's office, pursuing arbitration, or initiating a lawsuit.

Role of the Fast Food Council

AB 1228 establishes the Fast Food Council, responsible for setting future minimum wage adjustments and employment standards within the fast food industry. Comprised of representatives from various stakeholders, the Council will ensure worker welfare and consider factors such as working hours and conditions.

Looking Ahead

The Fast Food Council's meetings will be open to the public, allowing stakeholders to participate in discussions and provide input on proposed actions. As California continues to address wage issues and improve working conditions, this law represents a significant step toward ensuring fair compensation for fast food employees.

As April 1 approaches, employers and employees alike should familiarize themselves with the new regulations to ensure compliance and fairness in the workplace. Stay tuned for further updates and developments as California works toward a more equitable future for all workers.

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