Nevada Governor Signs 'Right to Return' Bill for Hospitality Workers

The law allows furloughed workers to return to their jobs as business picks back up.

Updated June 9, 2021.

On June 8, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed Senate Bill 386 “Right to Return,” which allows laid-off gaming and tourism-industry workers to return to their jobs. The law passed the Assembly 26-16 and the Senate 12-9. 

Helping to shape the law was the Save Our Jobs Coalition, made up of the Bartenders Union Local 165, the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 720, National Nurses United, Nevada State AFL-CIO, Operating Engineers Local 501, Service Employees International Union 1107, Southern Nevada Central Labor Council, Teamsters Local 631, Teamsters Local 986 and United Auto Workers Local 3555.

“Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Culinary Union has been fighting every day to protect hospitality workers and their families during this crisis,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the organization. “At the height of the pandemic, 98 percent of Culinary Union members were laid off and currently only 50 percent are back to work. While a majority of unionized workers already have extended recall protections in their contracts, a majority of workers protected by this new SB386 law are not unionized. Behind every worker in this state there is a family and the Culinary Union is proud to have won the right to return for over 350,000 hospitality workers in Nevada.”

According to Rusty McAllister, executive secretary-treasurer of the state's AFL-CIO, Nevada’s workforce has been the hardest hit in the country during the pandemic, with more than 400,000 people out of work at the peak of Covid-19. "With Senate Bill 386, we give these Nevadans who lost their jobs due to no fault of their own a chance to return to normalcy and the much-needed stability that they’ve lacked for more than a year,” he said.

SB386 gives hundreds of thousands of laid-off union and nonunion hospitality, airport, casino, travel and stadium workers the right to return to their jobs as business returns with the following parameters:

  • Workers laid off after March 12, 2020, for economic reasons due to the pandemic are eligible for Right to Return Protections beginning July 1, 2021, and expiring August 31, 2022.
  • Covered employers with 30 or more employees must offer laid-off employees job openings for the same or similar positions as the employee worked previously.
  • Workers who receive job offers have 24 hours to accept or decline and must be available to work within five days of receiving an offer. 
  • Workers may turn down only one or two job offers, with at least three weeks between each, if the job offer is for the same or a similar position and has similar hours to the worker’s previous job.
  • Employer is cleared of the obligation to recall a worker if the worker turns down three offers, or if the worker is not reachable by email, mail, phone or text message for each of the three offers. 
  • Notices for recall must be available in English, Spanish or any language that at least 10 percent or more of the employees speak. 
  • Employers must provide an employee with a written explanation if they decline to recall a laid-off employee within 30 days of the decision.
  • If an employee’s recall rights under SB386 conflict with rights under their collective-bargaining agreement, the collective-bargaining agreement prevails.
  • Laid-off employees may enforce their rights through a complaint to the labor commissioner or by suing in court.

According to the Culinary Union, the State of California, as well as local governments in New Haven, Conn.; Providence, R.I; Baltimore; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; and the California cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles County, Pasadena, San Diego, Port of San Diego, Glendale and Long Beach also have recently enacted policies to protect hospitality workers with the right to return.