February 29, 2024

Editorial: Californians knead answers. Did Panera Bread get an exemption from $20 minimum wage law?

Even before Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the landmark law in September that would increase the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 per hour starting in April, there were some eyebrows raised over the so-called Panera exemption.

The law was designed to boost pay and improve working conditions for employees of fast-food chain restaurants, but it contained an oddly specific carve-out: It wouldn’t apply to restaurants that bake and sell bread as a stand-alone item on the menu.

Now, Bloomberg reports that Newsom pushed behind the scenes for the exemption, which will benefit billionaire Greg Flynn, a campaign donor and business associate who owns two dozen Panera Bread locations in the state.

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