Employee Shortages and PUP – Staffing Issues for Hospitality Industry

hospitality industry staffing issues

With the opening of the hospitality industry less than two weeks away it is hard not to notice the flurry of advertisements and tweets looking for staff. There is hardly a café or restaurant without a “staff required” sign.   

Fáilte Ireland estimated that the hospitality industry lost more than 46,000 jobs in hotels, 57,000 in bars and restaurants and 10,000 in attractions and activities, due to the pandemic. 

The Irish Hotels Federation say that following the long periods of closure due to the Covid-19 restrictions and uncertainty around reopening timings have meant that some employees have obtained or found employment in other sectors. 

The IHF members are confident that they will be able to reopen, in full compliance with Covid-19 restrictions and safety guidelines. In the longer term the IHF is confident that employment numbers will return to previous levels. 

Hotels recently recruiting have included Muckross Park in Kerry, Redcastle Hotel in Donegal, Radisson Blu in Galway, Clonmel Park in Tipperary. In Northern Ireland the Galgorm group with four properties are hoping to recruit 180 staff across a variety of roles.   


The Restaurant Association of Ireland’s Adrian Cummins said, “there have been staff shortages in the restaurant business for a number of years. The RAI has lobbied for solutions and innovation to resolve this shortage. 

Some employees within the sector have left for jobs in other industries that are now open.  Others have retrained in different skills. Talking to an insider in the restaurant business, a shortage of chefs has led to some poaching between restaurants. He has been offered four head chef jobs in the past three months. 

Work Permits will be needed for further positions within the restaurant and wider hospitality sector to fulfill the shortages. There is currently a Chef Work Permit available for employees residing outside of the European Economic Area.  

Some countries outside of the EEA are administering vaccinations not currently approved by the EMA and therefore Mandatory Hotel Quarantine (MHQ) may apply. 

Low pay for kitchen porters and commis chefs has led to some reluctance to return to work by those on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).   The RAI said, “some members have been in contact with concerns that a number of employees are reluctant to return to work and are seeking to remain on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Mr. Cummins said, “PUP is necessary and vital for some employees but it is unfair to genuine claimants if it is seen and used as a deterrent to return to work by a minority. When meaningful and safe employment is offered and rejected by employees the Department of Social Protection must step in as businesses need staff to reopen.”




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