• Cyril McAree


As hotels and guesthouses across the country get ready to reopen on Monday next, 29th June 2020, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) is calling on the Government to expand the current Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) to include seasonal tourism employees.  Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines tourism and hospitality businesses, including hotels, will be operating under significant operating constraints this summer. Tim Fenn, Chief Executive, IHF says: “Seasonal tourism businesses will find it difficult to re-employ many of their experienced people this summer without Government support.  These jobs are vital for many families living in regions where tourism is the only major employer. These people should not be left behind.”

Almost 270,000 people were employed in the tourism industry before the pandemic. Just under 40,000* of these are seasonal employees who would return typically to the same employer every year for the busy tourism season, which runs from April to October. However, because they were not employed on 29th February 2020, they are not currently eligible employees for TWSS.  “We ask that the Government considers including seasonal employees in the TWSS scheme in a manner similar to employees returning to work following maternity or adoptive leave,” says Mr Fenn.

Mr Fenn says the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of thousands of citizens including seasonal employees and TWSS could serve as a significant back to work activation measure.  “Eligibility criteria could be developed using historical employment records to construct a Qualifying Payroll Submission. Expanding TWSS to include seasonal employees would allow hotels and tourism businesses to keep their experienced teams together until overseas visitors return and the tourism sector has an opportunity to recover. Tourism businesses that normally provide an enormous contribution to the Irish economy and the exchequer are under severe pressure this year and require help to keep their teams together.” he said.

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