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Hospitality: Working at Christmas

Posted: 2018-12-15 20:33:34


Scotland’s hospitality employers have been turning on the fairy lights and ramping up the hours to ensure that the magic of Christmas lives up to expectations.

According to online booking site OpenTable, the number of people dining out on Christmas day has increased by 240% in the last five years. This is a period of huge financial importance for hospitality businesses, and is a significant contributor to the local economy. With 93% of hospitality workers accepting they will need to work on Christmas or Boxing day, we should not overlook the role which hospitality workers play in making this festive period as special as it is.

In April this year Living Wage Scotland embarked on a new strategy which seeks to better understand Scotland’s hospitality industry. Since then, we’ve been encouraged by the positive response of a number of recently accredited Living Wage employers, including Sonas Hospitality on Skye, and Nauticus bar in Edinburgh. Last month, Living Wage Scotland held its first ever awards ceremony, and we were delighted to see that the growing hospitality network was widely recognised for steering positive change within the sector.

The Auchrannie Resort on Arran won the award for Industry Trailblazer, having become an accredited Living Wage employer earlier this year. Auchrannie told us that since making this commitment to their staff, they have experienced a 35% increase in job applications whilst noting that the quality of applicants has also increased. In addition, staff turnover reduced by 21% and recruitment advertising costs have reduced by 17%.

Edinburgh’s multi-operator pub company, Kilderkin Group also became accredited this year, as part of a move toward improved overall staff wellbeing, and to highlight the diverse and rewarding career opportunities which the industry has to offer. The company were finalists for Living Wage Scotland’s 2018 Newcomer of the Year Award, telling us:

"We we're honoured to be recognised at this year's Living Wage Scotland Awards 2018.The festive period for hospitality staff can be particularly difficult, as many are often working longer hours and may need to be away from loved ones on Christmas day, just to make some extra money.

From when we became accredited by Living Wage Scotland this summer, through to Hogmanay, our full-time staff have earned over £1,000 extra in their pay, which we hope will help to make Christmas much easier." -James Nisbet, Owner

Scotland’s first Living Wage cocktail bar, Panda and Sons, were finalists for the Industry Trailblazer 2018 Award having shown commitment to paying all their staff the real Living Wage which reflects the labour intensive and creative nature of hospitality work. Director, Sam Chapman, told us:

“We were the first in our industry to offer the real Living Wage. We strongly believe that this is vital to maintain both quality of service, but also retain good staff and encourage hospitality as a career and not just a job while hunting others.

A business is nothing without its employees and the employers must never forget this. We have a family approach to our teams and we desire to treat them as we would our own families and encourage them to do the same.”

In addition, well known social enterprise, Brewgooder, were also finalists in this year’s Industry Trailblazer 2018 category having recently become accredited Living Wage employers- a decision which stemmed from their belief that those employed within the hospitality industry should be empowered and rewarded by earning a real Living Wage.

With 67% of workers in the industry paid below the real Living Wage, hospitality continues to be one of Scotland’s largest low paid sectors.

We are proud to work with employers who have chosen to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate real leadership by paying all of their staff the real Living Wage. A wage which accurately reflects the current cost of living is vitally important, year-round, to ensure a worker can afford a good standard of living and feels valued as an employee. As the saying goes; a hard day’s work deserves a fair days pay, and at this time of year, with the festive season as demanding as it is, these words couldn’t ring more true.

Living Wage Scotland will continue to work closely with hospitality employers to highlight the business benefits of paying the real Living Wage in terms of improved recruitment and retention of staff, increased productivity and reduced absence. The Living Wage Employer logo represents an important step toward positive change for the industry, and we will celebrate each employer who chooses to make this commitment.


You can see if there are any Living Wage hospitality employers by using our Living Wage map: https://scottishlivingwage.org/index.php?/accredited

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