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New California law will raise minimum wage for fast food workers to $20/hour in 2024

Some new California laws will change things up in the workplace in the new year. AB 1228 is increasing the minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 an hour. The law only applies to restaurants with more than 60 locations.

NBC 7 spoke to a labor attorney who said it seems it may be a shift in how companies value an often-overlooked workforce. Christopher Olmstead is a labor and employment attorney, also managing shareholder, with Ogletree Deakins in San Diego. He said many industries have already adapted for several reasons.

“Availability of workers to fill roles, that’s really putting an upward pressure on wages,” said Olmstead.

Up until now the California’s fast food workers earned an average of just more than $34,000 a year. That’s about $16.60 an hour.
Inflation has increased the cost to live.
“A lot of businesses have focused on employee retention and satisfaction. I think part of that is because the labor market is challenging these days and businesses want to make sure they can fill those positions and retain workers once they’ve been trained,” said Olmstead.
Money isn’t the only factor, so is company culture and room to advance.
“Companies and other industries may need to take that into account when trying to recruit their own workers, that they’d rather work for a fast-food company and earn $20 and hour than earn something less,” said Olmstead.
Olmstead says, especially during the pandemic, there seems to be a larger shift in how we value employees.
“Fast food restaurants remained open and there was talk about how they’re frontline workers just like people in a lot of industries,” said Olmstead.
Another new California workplace law prohibits an employer from testing an applicant for cannabis use and discriminating against a worker or applicant based on their cannabis use off the job.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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