SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Now that Gov. Gavin Newsom is letting more businesses reopen as coronavirus cases decline, the California Legislature on Thursday passed a bill requiring some hotels, stadiums other hospitality companies to offer laid-off workers their jobs back.
Hospitality companies were some of the hardest hit by the state's stay-at-home order, with no fans in professional sports stadiums, no travelers to stay in hotels and empty office buildings and deserted airports needing fewer janitors and food service workers.
Newsom has been relaxing coronavirus restrictions as more people are getting vaccinated and the number of new cases declines. If things continue to improve, Newsom said he will lift all restrictions on June 15.
With companies preparing to resume normal operations, Democrats who control the state Legislature said they wanted to make sure laid-off hospitality workers are the first in line to get their old jobs back. The bill requires hotels, stadiums and janitorial service companies to let their former employees know when their jobs are available again and give them five days to decide on whether they want to come back.
Democrats say the the bill protects workers. State Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Democrat from Berkeley, said women lost more jobs and left the workforce in greater numbers than men during the pandemic.
“So you could also look at this bill as a very important bill to get women back in the workplace,” she said.
The Legislature passed a similar bill last year. But Newsom vetoed it, saying it was too broad and put too much of a burden on struggling businesses.
Lawmakers made revisions this year to change Newsom's mind.