UK hospitality workers face unpredictable employment climate

Analysis of 1.6m scheduled shifts finds nine per cent are cancelled and 19 per cent are altered

According to new analysis, hourly-paid shift workers in the UK hospitality industry face frequent shift cancellations and alterations. 

Nine per cent of all scheduled shifts are cancelled and almost a fifth (19 per cent) are altered. 

The figures have been compiled by workforce management platform Deputy, using data from over 1.6m shifts worked in the UK hospitality industry in 2019. These cancellations and alterations can be attributed to either employees or employers making changes to work. 

Deputy’s analysis also found that 39 per cent of hospitality shift rotas are published with less than seven days’ notice, whilst eight per cent of shift rotas are published with less than 48 hours’ notice. 

The scale of shifts affected emphasises the fragile balance of work in hospitality, particularly for low-paid workers in the industry.

Deputy’s findings come ahead of the government’s proposed Good Work Plan, expected to be implemented this April. Amongst numerous expected changes to UK employment law, the Plan will address the issue of ‘one-sided flexibility’ and require employers to provide employees reasonable notice of shifts.

Additionally, rules around the calculation of holiday entitlement are set to change as part of the Good Work Plan rollout. Hospitality employers need to be aware of these changes and be prepared to accurately calculate and allocate holiday entitlement for all employees.

David Kelly, General Manager EMEA at Deputy said: “Our analysis quantifies the reality that many businesses and their staff are experiencing. On the one hand, employees may occasionally need to change or cancel shifts in order to make work fit around their lives. On the other hand, employers may have to make short notice alterations, including where contract arrangements allow them to flex staff hours.

“Using cloud technology to maintain the data relating to people’s skills, availability and contractual hours is becoming a necessity as employers try to balance increasing their own workplace efficiencies with staying on the right side of the law.”

Commenting on his experience, Chris Byrne, General Manager at Boxpark said: “With an ever-changing site, keeping up with staff, events and business operations was a constant challenge. Our main goal is to improve the customer experience, but we weren’t managing our staff efficiently, so a lot of our time was focused on organising the rota, diverting attention from the main goal.

“Investing in a dedicated workforce management platform and app for our team has made a world of difference. Our staff can organise their shifts from their phone, and it makes scheduling and salary payment simpler for us, with the added benefit of our staff being more willing to take extra shifts.  We’ve saved a ton of time and increased our revenue.”

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