Fair work in the foundational economy: experiences in hospitality

ReportsResourcesMay 17th, 2021

Hospitality is a key part of the foundational economy.  Workers in the sector experience relatively poor terms and conditions. This report gives a unique insight into workers’ experiences.

It finds that:

  • Job security was the greatest concern, with non-existent or vague contractual arrangements between employers and employees. Many workers were concerned about their future in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Many workers were dissatisfied with their pay, feeling it did not reflect their value to their employer. The expectation of working additional hours meant some workers were paid less than the minimum wage.
  • Working irregular hours is common, and results in irregular wages as well as challenges for workers juggling family responsibilities. Irregular hours are seen by employers as inevitable in the sector.
  • There are significant health and well-being concerns from stress associated with work intensity, long hours and lack of breaks, Covid-19 safety on return to work and dealing with the public.
  • Covid-19 has brought major challenges to the hospitality sector with employers and employees alike being concerned about viability. There is a risk that terms and conditions will be eroded as businesses try to recover.  For furloughed workers, managing on 80% of pay and losing tips has been difficult.
  • There are particular concerns about the risk of exploiting young workers, who comprise a large part of the hospitality workforce. Their wages are lower, they are perceived to be more flexible and they are less aware of their rights.
  • Trade union organising is difficult in the sector. Most workers were not aware of unions they could join or considered that joining was too risky to their continued employment. Irregular hours and staff turnover also make organising difficult.  Some employers had negative views about unions.

Report format: PDF

Language: English

Pages: 17

Cost:  Free



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