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California Increases Minimum Wage for Fast Food Employees

Starting April 1, 2024, the new fast-food minimum wage will come into effect for Californians.

Per Assembly Bill AB 1228, the new minimum wage will increase to $20/hour for certain fast-food workers. Employers who fall under the fast food umbrella will need to post this new notice in their businesses. The notice comes in multiple languages—English, Spanish, and Standardized Chinese—to make it easier for employers to accommodate their employees.

Additionally, the new law establishes a Fast Food Council, which empowers future increases in minimum wage and the ability to adopt minimum employment standards in these businesses.

Important Things To Know

Under AB 1228, this fast food minimum wage requirement is statewide; therefore, a city or county cannot override the law and set its own higher minimum wage. 

Although a city cannot set a minimum wage specifically for fast food workers, it can set a higher general minimum wage for all employees. For example, a city like Stockton can rule that all employees must be paid a minimum of $22/hour. In this case, Stockton’s fast food employees would be paid the higher local minimum wage instead of the pre-established statewide $20/hour.

In addition, to meet the criteria of a “fast food” restaurant, the establishment’s service must be limited, where customers pay before they eat, and be a part of a nationwide chain with at least 60 restaurants across the country. The primary engagement of the restaurant must be in selling food and beverages for immediate consumption.