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Are long weekends skewed against hospitality businesses?

Are long weekends skewed against hospitality businesses?

With an upcoming long weekend, many small businesses are faced with the decision to either shut or face additional costs with compulsory penalty rates.

In a recent article, Edward Mallett – Managing Director of employment relations consultancy, Employsure; reports that long weekends are skewed against hospitality businesses.  “Many small hospitality businesses such as restaurants and cafes, are faced with this catch-22 over public holidays. It is an out-dated system that is skewed against employers.  Compulsory penalty rates have fallen away in the U.K., New Zealand, and the rest of the developed world, yet Australia still clings to a system which fails to reflect current market conditions.”

The main concern for most hospitality business owners is making enough money to keep the business afloat.  Choosing to trade on a public holiday with the “added” pressure of penalty rates, only further impacts on the profitability of small business owners.

Below are five tips that may assist hospitality employers during public holiday periods:

1. Know your industry – Make sure you know which award applies to your staff. Treatment of public holidays can vary from industry to industry, and it’s important to know what your options are.

2. Understand your obligations – Even if you don’t know what your obligations are, there is a good chance you staff will. It is important that you know which penalties apply, and from when; and whether the applicable award allows for substitution of public holidays.

3. What are your options? Most hospitality businesses have a mix of casual, permanent and part-time employees. Rostering options can help you determine who would be most beneficial to have working on a public holiday.

4. To open or not to open? Compare the costs of staying open versus staying shut before deciding to close, and remember your customer’s expectations, especially your regulars. Not all public holidays are national.

5. The public-holiday sickie – Have a process for addressing unexplained absenteeism, and communicate clearly any expectations your business will have for employees to work on the public holiday.

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