Schatz Introduces New Legislation To Support Hotel Workers, Save Jobs
Hotel Workers Among Hardest Hit During Pandemic, Industry Unemployment Rate At Nearly 20 Percent
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today introduced new legislation to support hotel workers and save jobs. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide new grants and tax credits to help pay hotel employees, bring back laid-off workers, and ensure safe workplaces.
“The pandemic has left millions of hotel employees out of work and many more struggling to get by with less hours. They need help,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill creates a new grant program that will bring back hotel jobs, pay workers, and help our economy recover.”
With historic drops in the travel and hospitality industries, hotels across the country have been crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry has reported more than 4 million lost jobs, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that the unemployment rate is nearly 20 percent. Even while some hotel owners were able to secure loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, the vast majority of owners are still struggling to avoid layoffs and remain open, underscoring the need for a targeted long-term assistance program.
Schatz’s Save Hotel Jobs Act creates a new grant program that will:
- Support hotel workers through direct payroll grants
- Provides grants to hotel owner-operators for worker payroll and benefits expenses;
- Requires grantees give laid-off hotel workers recall rights to ensure that those who lost their hotel jobs due to the pandemic can go back to work;
- Hotel grantees who do not follow the terms of the legislation would be liable for a claw back of funds as well as fines.
- Provide tax credits to promote worker safety
- The Personal Protective Equipment Tax Credit would allow for a payroll tax credit for 50 percent of costs associated with the purchase of personal protective equipment, technology designed to reduce the impact of the pandemic, increased testing for employees, and enhanced cleaning protocols;
- Ensures that all safety protocols do not negatively impact the level of work for housekeeping workers.
The Save Hotel Jobs Act is supported by UNITE HERE and American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA).
“UNITE HERE members do critical work cleaning hotel rooms, cooking food, and welcoming travelers that is essential to our economy. Hospitality workers have been devastated by the pandemic, with 98% laid off at the peak of the shutdowns and more than 70% still out of work today. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide important assistance in bringing back good hospitality jobs and making sure that workers who were laid off during the pandemic are recalled back to work,” said D. Taylor, president of UNITE HERE.
“Every day, hotels are closing for good, and hardworking, loyal employees are sadly being let go,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “No industry has been more affected by the pandemic than hospitality. Government-issued travel bans and restrictions, which are meant to slow the spread of the virus, have wiped out 10 years of job growth in our industry. Now, millions of jobs and thousands of businesses are at risk—not just hotels, but the many businesses and workers hotels also support in the community. We applaud Senator Schatz for introducing this critical legislation to support hotel workers. His colleagues in Congress must step up now to support the hotel industry workforce with this targeted relief.”