California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation to increase the minimum wage for fast food employees from $16.21 to to $20 per hour.

According to a report by the Restaurant Dive, the new law will require restaurants that are part of brands with 60 or more units across to increase the pay rate.

The newly amended AB 1228 legislation by Assembly Member Chris R Holden (D-Pasadena) will be effective from 1 April 2024. It authorises the fast food council to set fast food restaurant standards for minimum wage.

Holden said: “Today, we witnessed the signing of one of the most impactful fast food wage laws that this country has ever seen. We did not just raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour for fast food workers.

“We helped a father or mother feed their children, we helped a student put gas in their car and helped a grandparent get their grandchild a birthday gift.

“Last month, when we were knee-deep in negotiations, hundreds of workers slept in their cars and missed pay days to come give their testimony in committee and defend their livelihood. Sacrifice, dedication and the power of a government that serves its people is what got us to this moment.”

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The amended legislation will also develop proposals for other working conditions such as health and safety standards and training.

The signing of the new legislation prevents AB 257, the original fast food council law or the Fast Recovery Act, from going to a referendum.

Gavin Newsom said: “California is home to more than 500,000 fast-food workers who – for decades – have been fighting for higher wages and better working conditions.

“Today, we take one step closer to fairer wages, safer and healthier working conditions and better training by giving hardworking fast-food workers a stronger voice and seat at the table.”