After a year and a half of shutdowns that have decimated the incomes of New York City hotel workers, the NYC City Council delivered some welcome news. Councilmember Francisco Moya introduced a bill that requires hotels to provide severance packages to workers hotel management laid off during the pandemic. The Council voted in favor of the bill. Details of the law include:
- Only hotels that completely shut down or laid off 75% of their staff are required to provide severance.
- Hotels that reopen or reinstate at least 25% of laid-off workers are exempt from paying severance, but they must rehire employees by October 11th or reopen by November 1st.
Workers who were laid off are eligible to receive $500 per week for up to 30 weeks for income they were deprived of due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdowns.
“The backbone of NYC’s tourism economy”
Councilmember Moya recognized the role of hotel hospitality staff in keeping the city’s tourism industry alive during recent hard times. In a statement to the press, Moya said the legislation was designed to “protect the livelihoods of these very workers, who are the backbone of NYC’s tourism economy.” He also highlighted the legislation’s aim of “incentivizing the revitalization of NYC’s hotel industry by getting workers back to work.”
The Hotel Trades Council, a union that represents hotel and hospitality workers in New York and Northern New Jersey, strongly backed the bill. The Council estimates that nearly 30,000 hotel workers have faced unemployment due to the shutdowns. While the hotel industry spoke out against the legislation, the Council decided that the workers who keep NYC hotels running deserved not only recognition, but also fair compensation, for keeping the industry alive.