New California Law Helps Laid Off Hospitality Workers

April 21, 2021

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 93, which will require employers in several hospitality sectors to rehire laid off workers when jobs become available, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The signed legislation requires hotels with 50 or more rooms; airport hospitality operations, stadiums, and event centers with at least 50,000 square feet or 1,000 seats; and custodial service companies to let their former employees know when jobs are available again. Employers must give their former workers five days to decide whether they want to come back. To be eligible, employees must have been employed for more than six months in the 12 months preceding January 1, 2020 and been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we progress toward fully reopening our economy, it is important we maintain our focus on equity,” Newsom said in a statement. “SB 93 keeps us moving in the right direction by assuring hospitality and other workers displaced by the pandemic are prioritized to return to their workplace.”

Laid off employees cannot file lawsuits to enforce the law, according to the legislation. California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency must enforce it. Businesses who do not comply will be fined for US$500 per employee per day and the law will be in effect until the end of 2024.

The legislation was passed earlier last week by the state legislature, which previously passed a similar law which Newsom vetoed last year, according to KRCR-TV. Lawmakers revised the new bill to remove some of the burden from struggling businesses.