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e-Alert: California Adopts New Preferential System for Rehiring Certain Hospitality Workers Displaced by COVID-19

By May 20, 2021No Comments


Effective April 16, 2021, certain hospitality employers in California are required to give preference during the hiring process to rehiring and retaining employees displaced by COVID-19. This new law is in effect until December 31, 2024.


Applicable Employers:

  • Hotels
  • Private clubs
  • Event centers
  • Airport hospitality operations
  • Airport service providers
  • Enterprises that provide building service to office, retail, or other commercial buildings

Employer Requirements:

Employers are required to notify any qualified, laid-off employees within five business days of all new job positions. When there is more than one qualified, laid-off employee that applies for the position, the position must be offered to the individual with the greatest length of service.

Employees that are offered a new job position must be given at least five business days of receipt of the offer to accept or decline it. Employers must keep a record of these offers and related communications for three years.

An employer that does not recall a laid-off employee because they are not qualified for the role must provide a notice to the employee explaining the reasons for the decision within 30 days of the recall of other employees. Additionally, employers may not refuse to employ, terminate, reduce compensation for, or take other adverse action against any laid-off employee that seeks to enforce their rights under this law.

Employee Eligibility:

To be eligible, the laid-off employees must have held the same or a similar position at the company during the time of the employer’s most recent layoff.

A “laid-off” employee under the law is one who was:

  • Employed for six months or more during the 12 months preceding January 1, 2020; and
  • Separated from employment due to a reason related to COVID-19, including a public health directive, government shutdown order, lack of business, reduction in workforce, or other economic, non-disciplinary reason related to COVID-19.

Employers Next Steps

  • Keep an accurate record of any employees that were terminated for COVID-19 reasons to ensure they are notified within five business days of any new positions becoming available.
  • You must continue this practice until December 31, 2024, when the law is set to expire.
  • If you have any questions regarding this e-Alert, please email us.

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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.