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Your guide to California's new $20-an-hour minimum wage for fast food workers

Los Angeles, CA - March 29: A view of McDonald's, on Crenshaw Blvd. in south Los Angeles Friday, March 29, 2024. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
McDonald's is among various fast food chains that will be paying their workers the new $20-an-hour minimum wage. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California’s mandatory minimum wage for fast-food workers took effect Monday, with $20 an hour now in place.

Here is what we know from the pages of The Times:

Background

The pay increase established by Assembly Bill 1228 applies to California fast food workers employed by any chain with more than 60 locations nationwide and covers corporate-owned and franchised locations. The state has more than 540,000 fast food workers, about 195,000 of them in Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to the latest May 2022 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read more: Starbucks, Chipotle, McDonald's: Who's raising prices as California fast-food law starts today

The change

The previous minimum wage in California, regardless of industry, was $16 an hour — meaning many cashiers, line and prep cooks, counter attendants and baristas will see as much as a 25% raise overnight. Here is an overview.

Read more: With fewer options, South L.A. braces for bigger bills at fast-food restaurants

Rising prices?

Some fast food operators said they plan to raise prices — or are considering doing so. While Chipotle has not yet announced a final decision on new pricing, many other chains like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Jack in the Box say they are planning to push the wage increase onto consumers or change their operations. Here is a look at what other changes chains have in mind.

New council

Along with the higher minimum wage, the new law established a Fast Food Council — composed of business and labor representatives — that has the authority to set future pay increases (at a maximum of 3.5% a year) and develop standards on working conditions and employee safety and training.

Read more: Higher prices on the menu as fast-food chains brace for California's big minimum wage jump

More reading

‘I feel duped’: Inside the fast-food industry’s push to dismantle a new California labor law

California fast-food workers form an unusual union in a bid for higher wages, better working conditions

Labor, business reach deal to raise fast-food wages and end California ballot fight

Minimum-wage workers in these California cities are getting a raise in 2024

Higher wages are coming for California’s fast-food workers. Here’s what to know about the new law

Higher prices on the menu as fast-food chains brace for California’s big minimum wage jump

Starbucks, Chipotle, McDonald’s: Who’s raising prices as California fast-food law starts today

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.