Double pay for Sunday work fails to recognise nature of hospitality business – MHRA

The statement comes after the General Workers’ Union suggested in its pre-Budget proposals that workers be paid double for Sunday duty, and triple for work done on public holidays

The suggestion that workers in the hospitality sector should be paid double for Sunday work fails to recognise the nature of the sector, said the MHRA
The suggestion that workers in the hospitality sector should be paid double for Sunday work fails to recognise the nature of the sector, said the MHRA

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association has rebutted a proposal by the General Workers’ Union, for a legal provision to be introduced, that would see workers paid double for Sunday duty, and triple in cases where employees are required to work on public holidays.

According to the MHRA, the suggestion failed to recognise the nature of the business, and the economics that drive the sector.

“The hospitality industry model depends on the work generated in weekends and the festive days, and for that matter at times when clients have their time off,” read a statement by the MHRA.

“A lot of business is performed during such days and times and therefore can only be considered normal working time and definitely not extraordinary in nature,” it added.

On Monday, GWU secretary general Josef Bugeja insisted that many in the catering industry and those employed with contractors were paid a normal hourly rate on Sundays and public holidays, adding that this was “unfair”.

The MHRA pointed out that the hospitality industry remained “one of Malta’s fastest growing sector, offering employment and work opportunities to thousands of people”.

“Indeed, the industry has been growing year after year for the past years and is today on the country’s main export earner. It represents directly and indirectly 26 per cent of GDP,” said the MHRA, adding that the sectors growth had come in the face of “stiff competition” from competing Mediterranean resorts as well as unfavourable conditions in some countries.

Moreover, the MHRA insisted that the sector operated in “highly dynamic and sensitive” market conditions and could not be taken for granted since any changes to the economics driving the industry could have a “very undesirable significant impact on the industry”.

“Whilst we recognize that every stakeholder in the hospitality industry deserves to participate in the success of the industry, one must bear in mind the dynamics surrounding this industry internationally and that success can only be achieved provided everyone remains with legs firmly on the ground,” stressed MHRA president Tony Zahra.

According to the Deloitee hotel performance survey published last June, the Total Revenue per Available Room (TREVPAR) registered by hotels in the first quarter of 2017 was up in all sectors, with the largest increase being registered by 5 and 4-star hotels, while the average daily rate for rooms increased for all hotel classes, with the exception of 4-star hotels. The gross operating profit per room for all hotel types showed a significant increase. The profit registered per room by 5-star hotels increased by more than double

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