On April 28, the Save Hotel Jobs Act was introduced in Congress to provide a lifeline to hotel workers and hoteliers. The extremely hard-hit hotel industry has yet to receive direct aid, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has joined forces with the hospitality union UNITE HERE to call on lawmakers to pass this urgently needed help. The U.S. Travel Association and the International Franchise Association have also voiced strong support for the bill.
The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to the hospitality industry workforce. Leisure and hospitality have lost 3.1 million jobs nationwide since March 2020, representing more than a third of all unemployed persons in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even starker, the unemployment rate in the accommodation sector specifically remains 330% higher than the rest of the economy.
Unfortunately, the road to recovery for the hotel industry is long. While leisure travel will start returning this summer as more people are vaccinated, business travel—the largest source of hotel revenue—is down 85% and is not expected to begin its slow return until the second half of this year. Full recovery is not expected until 2024.
The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide critical support to hotels and their workers during this crucial period. Key provisions include the following:
- Supporting Hotel Workers: Direct payroll grants will be utilized for payroll and benefits expenses for workers. The legislation would also require grantees to give laid-off workers recall rights to ensure those who lost their hotel jobs due to the pandemic are able to get back to work.
- Allowing Worker-Friendly Tax Credits: Provides a Personal Protective Equipment Tax Credit to promote worker safety measures, which would allow for a payroll tax credit for 50% 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 that do not negatively impact the level of work for housekeeping staff.
AHLA is calling on its members and the industry as a whole to urge lawmakers to quickly pass this important legislation. Click here to Act Now!