Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance Passed by Santa Monica City Council
August 28, 2019 11:45 AM
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The Santa Monica City Council adopted an ordinance to strengthen workplace safety and compensation protections for Santa Monica’s 2,100 hotel housekeepers. The ordinance was recommended by the City’s Commission on the Status of Women in a letter to Council in September 2018. The ordinance:
- Provides hotel housekeepers with safety protections to prevent against sexual violence or other threatening behavior. This is provided through mandatory personal security devices and hotel workers’ ability to report criminal and threatening behavior without fear of retaliation.
- Establishes daily workload maximums of 4,000 square feet for hotels with less than 40 guest rooms and 3,500 square feet for hotels with greater than 40 guest rooms, and requires a double overtime compensation rate for all hours worked in a workday when a housekeeper’s workload exceeds these maximums.
- Requires training on personal rights and safety, and education to protect public health and prevent instances of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual violence. The City will select and certify a Public Housekeeping Training Organization, which hotels will be required to use to provide regular trainings for their workers.
- Calls for hotel worker retention for a 90-day transition period in instances of a change in hotel ownership.
“Everyone deserves to come to work feeling safe and protected, and this ordinance provides that assurance,” said Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis. “We are investing in the wellbeing of hotel housekeepers, who are a fundamental contributor to Santa Monica’s strong tourism industry that supports our schools, parks, and municipal operations with over $60 million in tax revenues annually.”
The adoption of the ordinance comes after months of research and engagement with various local stakeholders, including the Commission on the Status of Women’s ad-hoc committee, UNITE HERE Local 11, Santa Monica lodging businesses, Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Association of Los Angeles, and the California Hotel and Lodging Association. City staff also consulted with multiple cities with similar ordinances to learn about their experiences in implementation and enforcement including Long Beach, Oakland, and Seattle.
The ordinance will be enforced through a civil enforcement model and will take effect on a rolling basis by provision: the worker retention provision becomes effective upon the effective date of the ordinance in October, the safety protections and workload/overtime provisions take effect on January 1, 2020, and training will be required by January 1, 2021.