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California workers laid off due to the pandemic get rehire rights

A statewide policy requiring some hospitality and service industry employers to bring back employees that were laid off for reasons related to the pandemic. The bill was signed into law by Governor Newsom on Friday, April 16.

“The bill, or no bill, you know, we want to bring our experienced team members back," said Rob Hampton, the general manager for Palm Springs Convention Center.

Hampton expressed that he's ready to go back to business.

“We had 35 employees," said Hampton. "Full-time employees we're down to 7 now, so we had significant layoffs.

Hampton explained that doesn’t include the other 250 part-time contracted workers. 

Senate Bill 93 requires hotels, airports and large event centers to offer new positions to qualified former employees through 2024.

“We do have it on as the top priority," said Hampton. "We have to start thinking about once we open, how we get that staff back.”

The business would have to offer 5 days advanced notice to former employees or it could face fines up to $500 per day.  

“We'll make every effort possible to make sure that we reach out to them and be able to contact them," said Hampton.

But some industry groups are concerned about the new rules.

“Many of them are not coming back," said Pete Hillan, a spokesperson for California Hotel & Lodging Association. "It's not as simple as saying, bring back your previous employees they're gone.”

Hillan said this new law could cause a lag in hiring in a time when people are looking for jobs. 

“We're looking to hire as quickly as we can but that essentially puts a 10 day hold essentially on any rehiring," said Hillan "Thats gonna keep us that way for three years.” 

 The law is set expire December 31, 2024.

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Dani Romero


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