As coronavirus cases decline and economic activity begins to return to normal, the hospitality industry may soon begin to replace workers made redundant due to the pandemic. Some cities in California, and now the state as a whole, have adopted requirements on how hotels and other businesses can fill vacancies; my partner, Travis Gemoets, has summarized the new law below. – Jim Butler
California hospitality workers laid off during COVID-19 pandemic secure rehire rights Travis M. Gemoets, partner and senior member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®
On Friday April 16, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom imposed new obligations on employers by signing Senate Bill 93, requiring hotels, event centers, hotels and airport concierges to rehire first workers made redundant during the pandemic when jobs become available, essentially establishing “recall rights” more commonly associated with union collective agreements. Senate Bill 93 comes into effect immediately after quickly making its way to the Legislature as a budget bill and will be in effect until the end of 2024. Gov. Newsom has vetoed a larger bill supported by workers last year.
SB 93 requires employers in the hospitality and business service industries to offer new positions for similar work to employees made redundant during the pandemic within five days of a position being created. To be eligible for these newly established recall rights, the employee must have been employed for more than six months in 2019 and must have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees in this group who have been terminated for disciplinary reasons are not eligible.
In cases where more than one laid-off employee qualifies for a position, the employer is required to offer it to the worker with the most seniority. Prior to the enactment of SB 93, several California cities had enacted their own recall rights laws, including Santa Monica, Los Angeles (city and county), Pasadena, Glendale, and Long Beach.
How JMBM Helps Customers With COVID-Related Issues
During the COVID pandemic, JMBM’s Labor and Employment Department provided timely and up-to-date advice to our clients on such critical topics as leave and termination strategies, leave law enforcement paid, negotiating with unions on dismissal issues. and contract changes, COVID-related safety protocols for returning employees, wage and hour issues, and strategies to minimize workers’ compensation claims.
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