Laid off airport, hotel, and event center employees have the right to be recalled to the same or similar job positions. 

Under Philadelphia’s new Travel and Hospitality Worker Recall and Retention law, Employers must notify and offer eligible Philadelphia airport, hotel, and event center workers who were separated from employment each position when it becomes available based on qualifications and seniority. These employees will have a five-day offer period followed by a seven-day period to return to work, unless a different timeline is agreed to by the employer and the employee, along with other protections. The law applies starting January 7, 2021 until December 31, 2025.  

An airport, hotel, or event center employee who was laid off or separated from employment must meet all of the following conditions to be covered:

  1. Worked for six months or more in the 12 months prior to January 31, 2020;* 
  2. Separation from employment happened between January 2020 and January 2021; and 
  3. The reason for separation was due to a government shutdown order, lack of business, or other economic, non-disciplinary reason. 

*Event Center employees who worked 12 weeks or more in the 12 months prior to January 31, 2020 who were not scheduled by the employer for customary seasonal work and also meet (2) and (3) above are covered. 

A covered employer must provide eligible employees with specific notice if they hire someone other than the eligible laid off employee due to a lack of qualifications. A change in ownership or change in operating location does not necessarily mean the law does not apply.  

Covered employers should read the law or seek consultation to understand specific requirements for recalling laid off employees and other protections. 

 Hotel employees have the right to retention, which provides some job protections for the city’s hospitality workers. 

There are specific requirements for eligible hotel employees to receive notice of the changes in hotel ownership or control, and other related employment protections, all under certain terms and conditions defined in the law. Eligible employees include those hired directly by the hotel or through an agency. 

Starting January 7, 2021, when there is a change in ownership or control of a hotel, hotel employers must:

  • Provide a written notice for employees. Hotel employers must post a written notice of the change in ownership or control within five business days following the execution of a “binding commitment” to change ownership or control of the hotel, such as a purchase agreement. If the hotel is closed or substantially reduced in operations, this notice must be sent to all eligible employees.  
  • Extend employment to existing eligible employees. All eligible employees must be provided with a written offer to extend employment from the time of the binding commitment (to change ownership or control of the hotel) to six months after the reopening of operations. Employees must be given at least 10 days to respond to the offer to extend employment. If the employer must lay off employees due to financial reasons, the lay off must happen in order of seniority. 

This law outlines terms and conditions of how to apply these retention requirements when a change in ownership or control of a hotel occurs. Employers should read the law or seek consultation when planning to change ownership or control of a hotel. 

What should I do if I experience a violation of the recall or retention law? 

Employees who believe they have experienced a violation of these laws need a reasonable cause determination in order to file a lawsuit in court. 

Contact the Philadelphia Department of Labor’s Office of Worker Protections by emailing in order to request a reasonable cause determination. Employee(s) or a representative of the employee (s) should include the following information in the request: 

  • Name of the employer and any contact information for the employer
  • A narrative of the violation
  • Any evidence to support the claim
  • All relevant dates
  • Anything else the employee(s) or a representative believes necessary for the investigation 

Our office will conduct a thorough investigation of the evidence to make the reasonable cause determination. Retaliation by employers is illegal. 

Questions? Contact the Office of Worker Protections by calling 215-686-0802 or emailing