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Countdown to California’s new fast-food wage is triggering some strangeness [Video]

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Work from Home Lunch

With California’s new fast-food wage law slated to take effect in less than a month, the full import is starting to sink in for supporters and detractors alike, as this week’s Working Lunch podcast attests.

Why, for instance, is there suddenly an outcry over what’s known as the Panera exemption? From the time the bill was written, cafe concepts selling whole breads for take-home consumption on a specific date were exempted from having to pay workers at least $20 an hour as of April 1, as units of all other large quick-service chains are obliged to do.

At the time the bill was passed, the carve-out was there in black-and-white, a result of what insiders say was a personal connection between California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the bill’s godfather, and Panera Bread franchisee Greg Flynn, a former classmate and longtime friend of the governor.

Both parties deny any favoritism, without providing an alternate explanation of why the …

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