Job losses await hotel workers in 2021. A recently introduced bill hopes to quash it.

A recent report by the American Hotel & Lodging Association predicts that the hotel industry will lose 500,000 jobs.

According to the report, New York is expected to lose more than 38,000 jobs, which makes it No. 3 on the list behind Florida and California for most jobs lost.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the pandemic, the leisure and hospitality industry lost 3.1 million jobs and none of the jobs have come back. Leisure and hospitality workers make up more than a third of America’s unemployed.

While the introduction of the COVID vaccine has assisted in the increase of leisure travel, business is still down 85% more than expected during the spring and summer. According to the AHLA the industry won’t fully recover until 2024.

AHLA officials say that without the help of Congress an additional 1.3 million “hotel-supported” jobs are on the line. So AHLA and UNITE HERE, the largest union of hospitality workers in the country, have teamed up with elected officials hoping to persuade Congress to provide aid.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Florida) introduced the Save Hotel Jobs Act this week hoping to provide aid and a lifeline to hotel employees and the industry as a whole.

“The pandemic has left millions of hotel employees out of work and many more struggling to get by with less hours. They need help,” stated Sen. Schatz on Tuesday. “Our bill creates a new grant program that will bring back hotel jobs, pay workers, and help our economy recover.”

“While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide critical support to hotels and their workers during this crucial period,” stated Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We need Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act to help hotels retain and rehire employees until travel demand, especially business travel, begins to come back.”

Details of the bill include providing grants to hotel owner-operators for worker payroll and benefits expenses and requiring grantees give laid-off hotel workers recall rights to ensure that those who lost their hotel jobs due to the pandemic can go back to work.

The bill also includes Congress providing the personal protective equipment tax credit, which would allow for a 50% payroll tax credit. It would aid in the purchasing of personal protective equipment and increase COVID testing for employees.

D. Taylor, president of UNITE HERE, believes that the bill would save the hotel industry from disaster.

“UNITE HERE members do critical work cleaning hotel rooms, cooking food, and welcoming travelers that is essential to our economy,” said Taylor. “Hospitality workers have been devastated by the pandemic, with 98% of our members laid off at the peak of the shutdowns and more than 70% still out of work today.

“The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide important assistance in bringing back good hospitality jobs and making sure that workers who were laid off during the pandemic are recalled back to work,” concluded Taylor.