‘Mum and dad’ businesses to feel financial squeeze
PROFIT-stricken hospitality operators are set to feel a further financial squeeze with a pay rise coming into place, leaving owners "playing catch-up".
New wage rules come into effect on Sunday from the Fair Work Commission for salaried staff working in restaurants, cafes and bars.
Under the new rules, should employees work more than 16 hours across night shifts and weekends, or more than 10 hours overtime a week, they will be paid extra.
While industry owners and operators said their hardworking staff deserved the payrise, they said the rules ultimately have a "negative" knockdown effect.
Ocean St businessman and president of the Safe Night Precinct Alex Jones said several of his establishment's monitor their staff's hours and even send staff home early if they're close to working overtime.
Mr Jones, who said he does a 70-hour working week, believed it was those staff who lost out the most.
"If we see someone who is close to going over their 38 hours, we will give their shifts to someone else," Mr Jones said.
"Even on a busy night they will get sent home.
"We just have to find a way to cover them. It will really affect our full-time staff, mainly the food and beverage staff who do 38 hours.
"In an environment where underemployment is an issue, it's not good."
Mr Jones raised issues with how the law changes were rolled out, particularly with the little notice or say given to operators.
"They make these changes so frequently, and with a negative effect. There's never a public announcement and we are always left playing catch-up, catch up."
Owner of popular brewery and restaurant Brouhaha Matt Jancauskas said his Maleny business was unlikely to be affected.
But he had "mixed" feelings to the changes.
"I am all for hospitality workers who do pretty undesirable hours getting paid more," Mr Jancauskas said.
"Most of the bigger chains have standard awards and pay staff slightly higher but wave away those penalty rates.
"But it's the mum and dad businesses who will be hit harder."
Ben Walsh, who operates Miss Moneypenny's outlet at Noosa, predicted the extra cost burden "has the potential to wreak havoc among the industry''.
"It's going to make it absolutely pointless to hire mid-level salaried staff any longer,'' Mr Walsh said.
"It's making it very close to impossible to operate a business in the food and beverage industry. This will result in closures.''
Additional reporting compiled by Anthony Marx.