$20 California Minimum Wage For Fast-Food Workers Is Officially In Effect

$20 California Minimum Wage For Fast-Food Workers Is Officially In Effect

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California’s minimum wage for the state’s fast-food workers has officially increased to $20 per hour as of April 1, 2024.

The increase comes from legislation AB 1228 by Assemblymember Chris R. Holden, which authorizes the Fast Food Council to set standards for minimum wage and develop working conditions — including health, safety standards and training.

“California is home to more than 500,000 fast-food workers who — for decades — have been fighting for higher wages and better working conditions,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom in statement last September 2023 when he signed the bill. “We take one step closer to fairer wages, safer and healthier working conditions, and better training by giving hardworking fast-food workers a stronger voice and seat at the table.”

Governor Gavin Newsom signing of AB 1228 alongside Assemblymember Chris R. Holden, fast-food workers, labor leaders, and legislators.
Governor Gavin Newsom signing of AB 1228 alongside Assemblymember Chris R. Holden, fast-food workers, labor leaders, and legislators. | Image via CA.gov

In a study by Shift Project, they found that in 2022 the average hourly wage for fast-food workers was only $16.21 which was far less than their counterparts in California. According to the research in 2022, the average wage for non-fast food service workers in the state was $19.15 an hour — about $3 an hour more than that of a fast food wage.

“We did not just raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour for fast food workers. We helped a father or mother feed their children, we helped a student put gas in their car, and helped a grandparent get their grandchild a birthday gift,” said Assemblymember Chris R. Holden in the same statement. “My goal for AB 1228 was to bring relief and solutions where they were needed and together with my colleagues and Governor Newsom, that is what we have done.”

The new law applies only to employees of fast-food restaurants. To fall under the fast food restaurant category, the restaurant must meet certain criteria such as existing as a limited-service restaurant, having a restaurant chain of at least 60 establishments nationwide, and a restaurant primarily selling food and beverages for immediate consumption.

You can read more on these requirements and the minimum wage increase here.



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