Philadelphia, PA: New Recall and Retention Requirements for Hotel, Hospitality, and Event Centers


As Indicated


January 7, 2021


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Philadelphia employers in the hotel, airport hospitality, and event center industries will need to pay attention to new recall and retention requirements imposed by a number of recently passed ordinances.

The Travel and Hospitality Workers Recall and Retention Ordinance

Airport hospitality, hotels, and event center employers operating within the City of Philadelphia are required to offer to rehire qualified employees who were laid off due to COVID-19. Covered employers include any business located in the Philadelphia International Airport that is engaged in business services connected to preparation of food or beverages for aircraft crew or passengers to the public or at the airport, hotels containing 50 or more guest rooms, and event centers with more than 15,000 seats.

Employees have a right to recall if they: (1) worked for a covered employer and were either overtime eligible or commissioned employees in a retail or service establishment; and (2) were employed for at least six months between January 31, 2019 and January 31, 2020, and were laid off due to the pandemic between January 31, 2020 and January 31, 2022. Seasonal employees also qualify if they were employed for at least 12 weeks during the 2019-2020 period and not scheduled for customary seasonal work in the 2020-2022 period.

Covered employers must offer such employees an available position for which they are qualified. Employers are considered qualified if they held the same or a similar position at the time they were laid off, or could become qualified by receiving the same training the employer would provide a new hire in that position.

If the employer hires someone other than a covered laid-off employee, the employer must provide the former employee a written notice identifying who was hired and the reason for the decision within 30 days. The ordinance goes into more detail on the priority order and the methods by which employers must make offers to laid-off employees. These provisions expire December 31, 2025.


Retention of Hotel Workers

Similarly, a separate ordinance requires Philadelphia hotels that undergo changes in control (e.g., sale or transfer) to make job offers to covered employees and also provide protection to new hires for 90 days.

The incumbent hotel employer has multiple notice requirements:

  • Provide written notification to employees of the change in control within five business days of executing a transfer document. This notice must remain posted during any closure of the hotel and for six months after the successor employer operates the business.
  • Provide a list of eligible employees to the successor hotel employer, containing information such as name, address, date of hire, and occupational classification of each eligible employer. Eligible employees are any individuals who perform work at the hotel at least six months prior to the execution of the change of control.

The successor hotel employer must then maintain a preferential hiring list of eligible employees based on the information provided by the prior hotel employer.  The successor employer must offer employment opportunities for all open positions in the first six months following execution of the transfer document. Offers must be provided in writing and kept open for 10 days, and employers must retain documentation of the offers made for at least three years.

Finally, successor hotel employers must retain all eligible employees they hire for at least 90 days. Employees may not be separated without cause. The successor employer must provide a written performance evaluation of each retained employee at the end of the 90-day period and retain such records for at least three years.

Action Items

  1. Have hiring practices updated consistent with the new requirements.
  2. Train managers on new rehire requirements prior to engaging new employees.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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