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37k Hospitality Sector Workers Still On PUP As Sector Suffers From Staff Shortages

Published on Aug 10 2021 8:02 AM in General Industry tagged: Featured Post / Restaurants Association of Ireland / VFI / LVA / RAI / Vintners' Federation of Ireland / Licensed Vintners Association / indoor dining / indoor drinking / Pandemic Unemployment Payment / PUP / COVID Restrictions Support Scheme / CRSS

37k Hospitality Sector Workers Still On PUP As Sector Suffers From Staff Shortages

The latest figures from the Department of Social Protection show that 37,000 hospitality workers are still on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) as the sector is continuing to suffer from staff shortages.

As reported by The Business Post, the figures came as Revenue commissioners confirmed that restaurants and pubs can no longer avail of weekly payments under the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) due to the lifting of restrictions on indoor hospitality services.

Revenue is winding down the CRSS, which has reportedly paid €669 million to hotels, pubs, restaurants, shops, barbers, hairdressers and other businesses since it was set up in October of 2020. Pubs and restaurants had reportedly accounted for approximately 41% of the businesses claiming under the scheme.

The latest Revenue guidance reportedly states that hospitality businesses that can reopen for indoor services are no longer eligible for the CRSS, but such businesses can claim an enhanced restart grant worth three weeks’ payment, which is reportedly capped at a maximum of €5,000.

Hospitality business owners have reportedly expressed concern about attracting back former hospitality workers who have been on the PUP since the sector was shut down due to COVID-19-related restrictions.

RAI Chief Executive Statements

Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) chief executive Adrian Cummins reportedly said that the main issue that restaurants are facing restaurants at present is the availability of labour.

The Business Post quotes Cummins as saying, "There are still 37,000 people that previously worked in the hospitality sector availing of the PUP. The government really needs to target that bracket and help get people back into jobs."

LVA Chief Executive Statements

The Business Post quotes Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) chief executive Donall O'Keeffe as saying, "We have lost a lot of international staff that have returned home. And because our closure was so extended, we’ve lost a lot of staff from the hospitality sector to other areas like retail, construction and distribution."

O'Keeffe reportedly said that kitchen chefs, bar staff and front-of-house staff are particularly hard to find at present, and, "Anecdotally, I'm hearing of bars trading just five days a week because they can’t find the staff to open seven days."

O'Keefe reportedly also said that the CRSS is still open for nightclubs because they cannot currently open for business, and, "We want to open and trade in a sustainable way. CRSS is being wound down, which is fair enough. The employment wage subsidy scheme is continuing, and that is a critical support for our members and really valuable to us."

VFI Head Of Public Affairs Statements

Meanwhile, head of public affairs at the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) Brian Foley reportedly said that following the closure of the CRSS for pubs, the sector’s primary focus is to get approval for the return of bar counter service.

The Business Post quotes Foley as saying, "The bar counter is a core part of our pub culture in Ireland, and we need to get it back in play. The current guidelines don't allow for bar counter service, which is a big restriction on a huge amount of Irish publicans."

Staff Training, Recruitment And Retention Initiatives

The above news follows news that Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has launched two training initiatives that are being delivered by Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) to help meet employer demands in Ireland's hospitality, tourism and catering sectors as well as subsequent news that a new suite of third-level education programmes has been launched to encourage the retention and recruitment of talent for the tourism and hospitality sector.

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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