Luxury hotels are laying off workers and providing them few benefits

The Commerce Hotel and Casino is one of the few to take the opposite approach

Los Angeles /
Mar.March 27, 2020 10:52 AM
Andre Balazs and the Chateau Marmont
Andre Balazs and the Chateau Marmont (Credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Michael Kors)

No hospitality business in Los Angeles is immune from the economic rout brought on by the coronavirus, but not all of them are responding the same way.

Most hotels are simply firing or laying off their staff for the foreseeable future and providing barebones severance and healthcare packages, if any assistance at all, according to the L.A. Times. The Commerce Hotel and Casino did the opposite.

Two weeks after shutting down the business, the hotel’s governing board voted Wednesday to pay all 2,500 employees their base salaries and continue to provide health insurance to anyone who had a policy.
Bartender Chazz Nava told the Times he “[knew] it was going to happen because they always treat us well. They treat us like family.”

Several high-profile and pricey hotels in L.A. have let go of their employees without any severance packages at all, including the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica, and the Luxe Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Employees that are unionized will be able to keep health insurance and have a right to be hired back at some point in the future.

The Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, owned by Andre Balazs, plans to cover health insurance only through the end of March, although a statement from higher-ups said the company was “in the process of launching initiatives that will aid a fund which will help support employees in this time of need.”

California hotels are projected to lose more than 125,000 jobs in the coming weeks and another 414,000 jobs related to the hospitality industry could be lost too, according to the Times.

The City of L.A. may house coronavirus patients at hotels, Mayor Eric Garcetti said this week, adding that many hotels “need our help badly right now.” [LAT]Dennis Lynch


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