California Panera Bread owner will boost hourly pay after wage controversy

The billionaire owner of multiple Panera Bread franchises in California, who is at the center of an ongoing minimum wage controversy, has pledged to raise hourly pay to $20.

Starting April 1, large fast-food chains will be required to pay workers a minimum of $20 per hour because of a new state law.

The language in the new law provides an exemption for some restaurants operating bakeries that produce and sell bread.

Some Republicans had accused Gov. Gavin Newsom of including this exemption to favor Panera, given that Greg Flynn, a significant donor to Newsom's campaign, owns two dozen Panera restaurants in California.

Newsom has denied these allegations.

Regardless of Panera Bread's potential exemption from the law, Flynn has vowed to pay all his California employees the $20 hourly wage.