California requires certain employers to reinstate employees who were laid off because of COVID-19 if their most recent position (or a similar position) becomes available after April 16, 2021.
Reinstatement applies to employers that own or operate an enterprise, which is defined as:
- A hotel
- A private club
- An event center
- An airport hospitality operation or airport service provider
- A provider of janitorial, building maintenance, or security services to office, retail, or other commercial buildings
Employees are entitled to reinstatement if:
- They were employed for at least six months in 2019; and
- Their most recent separation was because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a public health directive, government shutdown order, lack of business, a reduction in force, or other economic, non disciplinary reason because of the pandemic.
Employers must offer the position to the laid-off employee within five business days of when it becomes available. The offer must be in writing and delivered either by hand or to the employee's last known physical address. If the employer has their email or cell, they must also send it by email or text message (or both if they have both). Employers must offer positions to laid-off employees in a preferential order. If more than one employee is entitled to this preference, the employer must offer the job to the employee who has worked for them the longest. Employees must be given at least five business days, from when they received the offer, to accept or decline it. Employers may make conditional employment offers to more than one employee at a time, with their final offer conditioned on their preference system.
The law also has antiretaliation provisions, recordkeeping requirements, notice requirements, enforcement provisions, and detailed circumstances that require employers to offer reinstatement when ownership changed, the organization changed, the enterprise relocates, and assets are acquired but the business is the same.
These reinstatement requirements apply from April 16, 2021, until December 31, 2024.