Staff shortages in businesses are beginning to take their toll. Yet another Covid wave in the coming weeks will again put increasing pressure on many businesses as absenteeism levels rise.
“Many businesses have had to consider shutting their doors or decreasing their operational hours during the peak summer season as many businesses such as bars, restaurants, cafes, B&B’s and Hotels are struggling to staff for the demand. These businesses needed peak season 2022 and the repercussions could be business closures and job losses in the coming months.
McCarthy points out that traditional workplaces like hospitality, construction, retail are struggling to compete in the labour market nowadays, given the attractive switch to Remote, Hybrid and Flexible working. There is double and triple whammy now because of yet another covid wave and businesses are also suffering due to inflation. This is also through in healthcare settings who in particular are having a horrid time.
Workplaces are now exploring reintroducing working team pods, social distancing in the office and the return to home working to try and curb the spread in the workplace.
The Hospitality industry in Ireland needed an influx of non-EEA nationals to save the summer of 2022. However, with very little change made to the work permit system, it means that the hospitality industry has not been able to recruit in time. McCarthy says that this is something that the government need to consider as if it isn’t, we may face the same problem again in 2023. Now, I would admit that this was a short-term solution but perhaps a short solution that was needed and people such as chefs and so on are in very short supply and that is damaging businesses that need them.
“Many businesses will now be left with little choice but to close a certain number of days every week because they won’t be able to cover over the rosters, many have already done so.
In fact, in most cases this may be the wisest choice, pick the two quietest trading days and give your staff a break. Many businesses are having to ask staff to work extra shifts to cover the roster and realising that long-term they may be looking at burnt-out employees. There is Safety, Health & Welfare issues to take into consideration and as it currently stands some hospitality employers cannot fully schedule a week’s roster without possibly breaking the law under the Organisation of Working Time Act.” This is also tricky from the point of view of the employee as it may leave them working weekends and we all know employees like their share of weekends off, however it is desperate times now and the employers that are getting through this are the ones that treated their employees well.
You remind yourself of the saying, “ look after your employees when things are going well, they will look after you when it is not”
“The Hospitality and Tourism industry is worth an estimated 7 to 10 billion euros per year to the Irish economy. The reintroduction of supports may be warranted as covid is impacting some businesses as much as ever and indeed we may see covid waves every 3 or 4 months, experts tell us.
“The WHO predicted this peak-time summer season wave and unfortunately strategic plans have not been put in place by government to help businesses and to help employers. There needs to be a long-term plan for small businesses to able to cope with the continued shockwaves of covid. The introduction of Covid supports to Businesses now needs to be a very real consideration as the Covid impact is still there and it is eroding turnover and the bottom line, the fact that a covid wave is hitting in what is one the most important trading months for many businesses could lead to mass job losses and business closures the far side of the summer.”
Absenteeism and working from home
Employers need to be careful when it comes to practices such as working from home when the employee is sick. In some circumstances, employees can offer to cover work from work from home when they are in their isolation period and I would warn that this is a health & safety risk. This is especially a no-no if they have been medically certified as unfit to work.
If an employee is ill, they need their rest and recovery time. They will cover the same work and same tasks from home; however, it is a health and safety risk in not providing recovery time to an ill worker and whilst it may seem to make sense in some circumstances, employers need to be weary.