Home>Articles>Mandatory Rehiring of Laid-Off Workers Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Governor For Approval

Senator Nancy Skinner. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Mandatory Rehiring of Laid-Off Workers Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Governor For Approval

‘It’s either hire them back or pay this fine, even if there are better candidates out there from closed hotels’

By Evan Symon, April 16, 2021 2:13 am

The California Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would require hotels, event centers, janitorial service companies, and other service companies to offer workers laid-off due to COVID-19 their jobs back before hiring others.

Senate Bill 93, authored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) would require employers, until the end of 2024, to offer employees their jobs back if they had been laid-off due to COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. It would specifically apply to employees who had worked at the company or business for at least 6 months before 2020, with the employer being required to present proof that an employee had been terminated for other reasons if they choose not to rehire them.

SB 93 would also prohibit an employer from refusing to employ, terminating, reducing compensation, or taking other adverse action against any laid-off employee for seeking to enforce their rights until the bills December 2024 deadline. Non-compliance could cost companies up to $500 per employee per day.

The bill would also not apply to all sectors, instead focusing on those jobs that were hit the hardest by the pandemic, including hotel workers such as maids, private clubs, airport hospitality workers, and building service workers such as janitors and maintenance staff.

Skinner wrote the bill following the surprise veto by Governor Gavin Newsom of AB 3216 last year, a similar employee rehire bill. As Governor Newsom rejected AB 3216 for being too broad of a bill that would hurt many businesses, Skinner tailored her iteration of the rehire bill to focus exclusively on sectors that had laid off the most people during the pandemic, necessitating companies to rehire the same people in industries that wouldn’t be hurt by it. Skinner also noted that the bill would help many women get back in the workplace.

“Excellent! The CA Senate just approved SB 93, which will prioritize the rehiring of laid off workers in the state’s hospitality sector as our economy fully reopens,” said Skinner on Thursday via a tweet. “Now, it on to Gavin Newsom for consideration.”

In a later statement, Skinner added that ” you could also look at this bill as a very important bill to get women back in the workplace.”

Many lawmakers continue to oppose SB 93

Heath Flora
Assemblyman Heath Flora. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Despite the Senate, and earlier this week, the Assembly passing the bill, there remains heavy opposition against SB 93. 19 Assembly members from both parties voted against the bill on Monday, with many Senators doing the same on Thursday, over the very high per day, per employee fines. Many have argued that businesses would likely be hiring back those same employees anyway due to already being experienced and trained, and that it put unjust liability on the employer.

“To put the burden, to the fines, the fees, the liability on the employer is unacceptable,” said Assemblyman Heath Flora (R-Ripon) on Monday.

Business owners affected by the bill also say that it could wind up hurting them.

“It takes away our right to hire who we want to,” said Los Angeles hotel assistant manager Martin Castillo to the Globe on Thursday. “It’s either hire them back or pay this fine, even if there are better candidates out there from closed hotels and things like that. It’s nuts. A lot of people want jobs still, and this limits us in who we can get.”

SB 93 is now sitting on the Governor’s desk in Sacramento. While Governor Newsom has not indicated if he will veto the bill again, the Governor’s office was involved in the negotiations over the bills passage in the legislature, indicating that he may favor signing the bill this time.

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8 thoughts on “Mandatory Rehiring of Laid-Off Workers Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Governor For Approval

  1. And, all the businesses are going, “Yeah, sure, no problem. Count us in. Now, please ORDER – DECREE – MANDATE that all our customers come back, and DEMAND that they spend more, more, more, more, more! THEN, we’ll have the cash flow to bring back all our laid-off workers. Thanks in advance.”

  2. Comrades
    Ain’t good idea ……interference in private contract law. We need a bonafide healthy employment free for all, pay what you want in a deflating small business economy, work for whatever you can get……guaranteed that the cream floats to the top based on productivity and their wages rise accordingly…..any employees less productive are guaranteed nothing except lower wages….no protections……betcha school teachers fire up pronto….

  3. Prune face Democrat Senator Nancy Skinner trying to order private employers what they need to do like a petty authoritarian and totalitarian dictator?

  4. This is disgusting after they pillaged and burned. None of these clowns has one clue what it is to live in the real world.

  5. Absolute truth…

    Private sector experience should be a prerequisite for these clowns, so they don’t pass stupid laws like this one, that appeal EMOTIONALLY, but have no economic validity…

    She’s a tool…

  6. Will the fascists in Sacramento ORDER small businesses that went bankrupt due to their lockdowns, to start their businesses back up so they can hire laid off employees? Will the fascists in Sacramento suspend all taxes and business fees for a year as an incentive for businesses to come back to CA??? Not likely. So, it’s posturing and showboating again. All any DemocRAT does when it comes to businesses.

  7. And does this bill say the employees must return once they are asked to? I suppose they can continue to collect their $600.00 a week unemployment benefit through 2024, and then demand their job back. If Berkeley wants this rule let their city mandate it and leave the rest of California out of this horrible over-reach.

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