The sector body would like to see clearer information around living wage enforcement to prevent employers being ‘named and shamed’ for misunderstanding what it covers. For example, employers that actively work to pay the living wage can be caught out by “technical discrepancies” where staff have paid for a uniform, even if the employee is later reimbursed for the purchase, the recommendations suggest.
More transparency would help employers know what their responsibilities are, the body said, so they can avoid being named and shamed for a technical infringement.
The calls come as part of a raft of recommendations from UKHospitality in response to Government consultations following the 2017 Taylor Review into modern working practices.
The recommendations highlight issues with what constitutes self-employment and calls on the Government to ensure employees are given equal rights where they are shown to be doing paid work. It also flagged the need to ensure the tax system isn’t “tilted to encourage self-employment”, which currently is subject to “preferential tax treatment”.
“If you are an employee you should get the same rights and be taxed the same,” the organisation said.
Flexible labour market
The consultation submissions emphasised the need to maintain flexibility in the labour market to benefit staff and employers. This refers to flexible hours contracts, including zero-hours contracts, which can enable people with other commitments to work the hours that suit them, while also helping businesses manage changing labour requirements. Asked about concerns from unions about employers misusing these types of contract, a spokesperson for UKHospitality said: “When we’ve talked to members there has been no evidence of abuse of zero hours.”
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The UK’s hospitality sector has been a fantastic engine for growth, providing jobs in every region of the country and revitalising high streets. However, the sector is facing considerable barriers to further growth and we need to see the Government act decisively to ensure that employment is transparent and fair for both employers and employees.
“Businesses must continuously evolve to keep pace with changing consumer demand and legislative and cost pressures. Likewise, the environment in which businesses operative needs to allow flexibility and an opportunity for them to succeed. We have consistently advocated for the update of a tax system to reflect the demands and opportunities of 21st century businesses and the wider approach to employment must also do this.”