Skip to main content

Home  »  US Employment News   »   California increases minimum pay for fast food workers

California increases minimum pay for fast food workers

Fast food shop

Fast food workers in California will receive a minimum wage of $20 per hour in 2024 after an agreement between labor unions and the restaurant industry. 

This development may thwart a multimillion-dollar referendum for the state's November 2024 ballot.

Read More: Stellantis Offers 14.5 Percent Pay Raise To UAW To Avert Possible Strike

Starting in April 2024, fast-food workers in the state will see their hourly wage rise to $20.

Eligible workers are those employed by chains with at least 60 nationwide locations.

Battle between industry and unions could be over

This would supersede the current state minimum wage of $15.50, slated to increase to $16 per hour in January.

The agreement is subject to approval by both houses of the state legislature by Thursday, September 14.

It seeks to replace a law passed last year that sparked a contentious battle between unions and the restaurant industry. 

Read More: Walmart Cuts Starting Pay For New Entry-Level Store Staff

The previous law had proposed the establishment of state-appointed fast-food advisory councils.

It would give the authority to increase sector pay to $22 per hour and exercise additional restaurant oversight.

Under the new agreement, starting in 2025, the councils will have the authority to set annual fast-food wage increases up to a maximum of 3.5 percent. 

This authority will expire in 2029, and the councils can only make policy recommendations for consideration by the state governing agency.

Approximately half a million people work in the fast-food industry in California, the highest number in any state.

Read More: Minnesota Passes Bill Ensuring Minimum Pay For Gig Workers

If approved, this agreement would end a 2024 industry-backed referendum on fast-food councils, which aimed to repeal the law passed last year.

The terms of the deal stipulate that a separate bill be in the state legislature.

It sought to hold restaurant companies more accountable for the employment practices of their franchisees. 

It would be revised to incorporate the new hourly wage parameters.

The tight legislative deadline requires a committee hearing for the bill this morning (Tuesday, September 12), followed by a Senate floor vote on Thursday.

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

If approved, it will undergo one final procedural vote in the Assembly before reaching the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom. 

The industry coalition supporting the referendum to repeal the law is expected to withdraw its efforts by January 1.

"Win-win for workers and businesses"

A spokesman for Governor Gavin Newsom expressed the governor's intent to sign the bill, calling it a "win-win for workers and businesses."

The Service Employees International Union, a strong advocate for the legislation in California, welcomed the deal as a step forward for workers.

The industry groups praised it for providing a more stable environment for restaurant owners in the state.

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Most Read News