Labor Commissioner’s Frequently Asked Questions About AB 1228

At the beginning of April, California implemented Assembly Bill (AB) 1228, a law that increased the minimum hourly wage for people who work in fast-food restaurants. Assembly Bill 1228 also establishes a Fast Food Council that is empowered to raise the legal hourly wage for fast food restaurant workers in the future and develop other minimum workplace standards. At the end of March, the Labor Commissioner issued answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about AB 1228. The FAQs cover crucial aspects of the new law. Below are some of the frequently asked questions the Labor Commissioner addresses;

When does Assembly Bill 1228 take effect?

AB 1228 already took effect. The minimum wage increase for fast-food restaurant workers became effective on the first day of April. All covered workers in California must receive no less than $20 per hour.

Are cities or counties allowed to pass minimum wage laws that require fast food workers to be paid a higher wage?

Cities or counties cannot pass minimum wage laws that target only fast food workers. However, local governments can establish a higher minimum pay that applies to all workers, including those in fast-food establishments.

Who is considered a “fast food restaurant” employee under Assembly Bill 1228?

This is a worker who is employed by a restaurant that provides limited service to its customers, is part of a chain with at least sixty establishments across America, and mainly sells dishes and beverages for immediate consumption.

Are employers with franchises covered under the law?

AB 1228 covers employers irrespective of whether they are a franchisor or franchisee.

What is the meaning of “for immediate consumption?”

This means customers eat inside or outside the eatery, in their car, or immediately after they get home, to work, or at school. Food that must be cooked, heated somewhere else, or baked does not fall under this category. However, a restaurant that prepares food that must be cooked, heated elsewhere, or baked may also be covered under the law if it mainly sells dishes and beverages for immediate consumption.

Are there restaurants that fit the “fast food restaurant” definition but are not covered under AB 1228?

Exemptions include restaurants located within grocery establishments and those connected or operating with a hotel, airport, museum, theme park, or gambling establishment.

Can employers use tips as a credit toward the obligation to pay the minimum wage?

Employers are prohibited from using tips as a credit toward the obligation to pay workers the minimum wage.

What can I do if my employer pays me less than the minimum wage?

If an employee pays you less than $20 per hour, you can present a legal claim to recover wages and possibly other damages. You can present a claim through the Labor Commissioner, an alternative dispute resolution system, or a court lawsuit. 

Click here for all the FAQs posted by the Labor Commissioner.

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

Have questions about AB 1228? Then we recommend you contact an employment lawyer today.