The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) today urged the Government to clarify its position on the proposed statutory sick-pay scheme. Acknowledging recent comments by Minister Richard Bruton that such a scheme would impact on competitiveness and employment, IHF President Michael Vaughan called on the Government to abandon the proposal and stop sending out mixed messages to businesses at a time when job creation is a national priority.

“What we’d like from the Government is a united, pro-business approach fully aligned with its stated commitment to job creation,” says Mr Vaughan. “On the one hand we have supportive tourism initiatives such as a reduced VAT rate while on the other we have moves to impose additional costs on struggling businesses. This barrier to job creation would place an unjustifiable burden on small businesses – the very businesses that should be the backbone of any future recovery and growth in employment.”

Mr Vaughan cited attempts to resurrect the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) system as another example of the Government’s mixed-up approach to job creation. He states, “At a time when many tourism businesses are struggling to survive, it is unacceptable that the Government’s focus is on restoring an outdated wage setting mechanism that severely undermines the viability of Ireland’s tourism industry.”

“Hotels and guesthouses, many of which are barely surviving, are being forced to pay a premium over and above the national minimum wage,” states Mr Vaughan. “Businesses can no longer be shackled with an obsolete system which imposes excessive wage demands and complex compliance requirements. The proposed JLC legislation makes no sense for our country and is neither appropriate nor fit for purpose in a modern competitive economy. It has lost its relevance with the introduction of the National Minimum Wage Act and other extensive employment legislation. It’s time for the Government to show political gumption and face down short-sighted demands by those seeking to retain the status quo.”

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