Employees at a Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant in Sacramento, California will soon get a big increase in their paychecks, proving its possible for the fast food industry to pay higher wages to its workers.
Starting on June 4, workers hired as “hospitality professionals” at Sacramento’s Chick-fil-A on Madison Avenue will earn $17 an hour, and will be given employee benefits not typically offered to fast food workers.
According to KXTV, all employees at the location will have paid sick leave, and management-level workers will receive paid time off.
“We’re looking for people trying to raise families, improve their lifestyle,” franchise owner Eric Mason told KXTV, adding that the new pay and benefits package is a way of maintaining a healthy relationship between the franchise and its employees. “We have great relationships with our community and our guests and also our team.”
This is a significant step up from California state law, which currently stipulates that employees must be paid a minimum wage of $11/hour, with the minimum wage gradually increasing each year to $15/hour by 2022. Employees at the Madison Avenue Chick-fil-A currently make either $12.50/hour to $13/hour. The minimum wage would be $16/hour today had the 1968 minimum wage grown at the same rate as the cost of living, according to Siena College economist Aaron Pacitti.
Mason’s admits his decision to increase workers’ pay starting on June 4 of this year as opposed to in 2022 will be “challenging,” but sees it as an investment in his business.
“The people is the real key component to successful businesses,” Mason said. “We’re looking for people who are looking for long-term opportunity.”
While the economy in Sacramento, California is admittedly different than local economies in the Deep South, where Chick-fil-A restaurants are more common, Mason’s decision to give employees a livable wage and benefits proves that business owners see value in adequately compensating the employees who help his business make a profit.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.