New CA Law Requires Employers to Offer Jobs to Laid-Off Workers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 93 into law on April 16, 2021. The new legislation requires employers to offer jobs to employees who were previously laid off because of reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The law is effective until December 31, 2024. 

According to SB 93, employers must offer their “laid-off employees” any available job positions that they qualified for at the time of their most recent layoff. The law defined a laid-off worker as any employee who the employer kept for six (6) months or more within a 12-month period preceding January 1, 2020, and whose most recent adverse employment action involved a COVID-19-related reason. 

Common reasons related to the COVID-19 outbreak include: 

  • Government shutdown 

  • Public health directives 

  • Lack of business 

  • Reduced workforce 

  • Any other economic and non-disciplinary reason  

First, employers must notify laid-off workers of open positions within five (5) business days of making such positions available. The notice needs to be written and sent by email and/or text message. 

Once an employee receives that notice, they have five (5) business days to accept or reject the offer. If the employee accepts the offer, employers need to offer the position in order of preference. If more than one employee accepts the offer, employers must offer the position to the employee who has worked for the employer the longest. 

Remember, employers have the right to hire a person who was not laid off. However, if an employer decides to hire someone other than a laid-off employee, the employer must send a written notice to the former worker within a 30-day period and provide the reasons why he/she does not qualify for the job. Employers must also retain specific employee records (e.g., layoff notices, job offers, etc.) for no more than three (3) years. 

If an employer fails to comply with SB 93, they will be subject to civil penalties, including $100 for each employee who rights were violated, plus an extra $500 in liquidated damages per worker for each day his/her rights were violated until the issue is resolved. 

If you are facing an employment law matter in California, contact Polaris Law Group today at (888) 796-4010 and discuss your case with our experienced attorney. We proudly serve clients in Redding, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Oakland, San Francisco, the Bay Area, Stockton, Modesto, Pleasanton, Redwood City, San Jose, the Silicon Valley, Hollister, Salinas, Fresno, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Santa Clarita, Riverside & San Bernardino, Orange County, and San Diego. 

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