California Fast Food Workers Could Get Boost in Minimum Wage

A proposal in California would increase the minimum age for fast food workers there to $20 per hour by 2024.

California’s fast food and health care sectors may soon see significant wage hikes if new legislative proposals get the nod, according to a report from Fox Business and Wall Street Journal.

How might this affect small businesses in the Golden State?

A pact made public on Monday, between labor unions and the restaurant sector, aims to push the minimum hourly wage for workers at restaurant chains (those with 60 or more national outlets) to $20 by April 2024. This initiative could impact approximately 500,000 fast-food workers in the state.

Parallel to this, another bill in the pipeline proposes that wages for around 455,000 health care workers (excluding doctors and nurses) be ramped up to a minimum of $25 per hour over the coming decade.

But, for both these proposals to see the light of day, they must first gain approval from the state Legislature and subsequently get the green light from Governor Gavin Newsom. The clock is ticking as there’s a midnight Friday deadline.

Why should small business owners care? With California’s minimum wage already being one of the highest nationally, these further increases might impact labor costs and business models for small enterprises, especially those in the aforementioned sectors.

The momentum behind these potential wage hikes underscores the influence that fast food industry workers, in particular, have had on wage negotiations.

Additionally, the proposal introduces modifications to the existing law, granting state-appointed fast-food advisory councils the authority to annually bump up the $20 minimum wage, but only by a maximum of 3.5%. Health care workers can expect similar progressive raises if the proposal sails through.

Notably, these wage increases aren’t uniform for all health care workers. For instance, employees in large health care facilities might see their hourly rates jump to $23 next year and $25 by 2026. On the other hand, workers in rural hospitals will gradually scale up to $25 by 2033.

While these wage hikes may spell financial relief for numerous workers, small business owners need to keep a keen eye on these developments. Adjusting business strategies and planning for potential increased labor costs will be essential in the coming months.

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.