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Promoting careers in the hospitality sector
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NLW/NMW rates

The sector recognises that employees should be rewarded for the work they do and aim to pay their them as well as possible. The introduction of the National Minimum Wage and, subsequently, the National Living Wage have provided a significant pay increase to those on entry-level wage rates but these have added costs to low-margin businesses. We support the principle of the NLW and NMW but it needs to be balanced against the sector’s ability to create millions of jobs and provide career opportunities to people of all ages, particularly the young.

Position: To support the Low Pay Commission in its independent setting of NLW/NMW rates, taking regard of economic circumstances



HMRC compliance

Hospitality sector employers are responsible, and all of our members pay at or above the minimum wage rates. HMRC compliance has found a number of businesses in the sector non-compliant on technical breaches which we do not believe is fair, particularly when this involves naming and shaming, major fines and back-payments of six years.

Position: We seek to work with HMRC on new guidance to clarify the law and rules about wage rate compliance; we also seek for naming and shaming to only occur for deliberate breaches of wage rates, not technical ones; we believe the back-payment penalty should be reduced from six years.



Apprenticeship levy

The sector is a major advocate of apprenticeships and sees them as a way of nurturing young talent and providing a career pathway. The imposition of the levy itself has led to higher costs to our members and a decrease in flexibility. We believe the apprenticeship regime should be supported but that it needs reform.

Position: The apprenticeship system needs reform to encourage more funding to be used for the development of apprentices, including business costs for employing an apprentice and greater support for SMEs from unspent levy funding.




Vocational education has a key role to play in developing the workforce of the future and we have supported the introduction of T-levels to assist non-academic learning and providing young people with the skills to make them ready for work. The sector is keen to be involved with their development and to ensure they meet the needs of employers and students alike.

Position: The earlier implementation of catering T-levels, to come in from 2021; Expansion of the T-level to encompass wider hospitality which has recently been dropped; direct industry involvement in the development of T-levels.



Employing ex-offenders

The hospitality sector is facing huge recruitment challenges, skills shortages can mean that around 19% of roles remain vacant. Prisoners and ex-offenders are being trained in hospitality and customer service skills, making them ideal job-ready candidates for the sector. Read more about how you can unlock opportunity to fill your vacancies in the new Ministry of Justice employer guide.

Position: The hospitality industry is the perfect partner for government to help realise its aim of encouraging harder to place people back into work. The wide range of vocational roles within the sector means that it is well placed to support those UK residents who are often considered ‘harder to place’, or lack the qualifications to gain entry to other sectors.  To back the industry in achieving this goal support  for this should be included in the tourism sector deal, or if  the sector deal is not accepted, this work should be taken forward regardless.




The hospitality sector is proud of its diverse workforce, with around one in four employees from overseas. The UK’s pending exit from the EU has shone the light on the issue of migration and there have been vocal calls for the end of free movement in its current form. We understand the desire for greater control of immigration policy, but we do not believe that this should be at the cost of reduced economic growth. There should also be wider consideration of non-EU migration and how that can meet skills shortages while the workforce of the future is being developed.

Position: Future immigration policy should meet the needs of the hospitality sector and not inhibit economic growth – this could include extended youth visas, allowances for skills and labour shortages and other supportive measures; the non-EU immigration system should be reviewed to ensure that the sector has the skills and resources.


Only a Pavement Away

 Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) - an industry-led nationwide charity supported by UKHospitality and established to assist the homeless, ex-service personnel and ex-offenders into hospitality careers - is a well deserving charity which specifically looks at the hospitality industry as a solution to help the homeless, ex-service personnel and ex-offenders. 

OAPA run a number of initiatives in partnership with other organisations including, Acceptcards who is supporting the OAPA programme by providing a free card payments review for all businesses in the leisure sector and StreetSmart with their Christmas initiative that sees £1.00 added to a diner’s meal with 100% of the £1.00 going to OAPA.

If you would like to get involved with this initiative, please contact Greg Mangham.


Business Partners