Hospo Voice

Overworked and underpaid in hospo?

May 10, 2021

Why we shouldn’t be working 60+ hours a week

Have you ever bragged to a mate that you worked 60 hours one week? Have you ever complained about doing a ‘clopen’ but secretly felt hardcore for your epic work ethic?

In hospo, we’re celebrated for working bloody hard. We have a workplace culture that believes in being stoic and getting the job done, no matter the cost.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with working hard. It feels good to end the day feeling like you’ve done your best and worked hard. But the problem is when you’re overworked and underpaid. Have you ever stopped to think about the costs? And think about who is actually benefiting from your hard work?

What’s going on with the skills shortage in hospitality?

We’ve all noticed that there’s a lack of workers in hospo right now. There are a few reasons for this. For one, there are fewer international students and migrant workers coming into Australia.

There are also plenty of news stories doing the rounds about how business owners can’t find workers, like this this guy. He’s blaming it on government benefits, and says workers would rather live on the pitiful JobSeeker amount than get a job. In what world, mate?!

The truth about the hospo skills shortage

There’s a lot more to the hospo skills shortage. For one, heaps of hospo workers were made unemployed during the lockdowns last year. They moved to other industries where they could get work and found better pay and conditions in other industries. So, of course, they stayed there.

And as for those of us who stayed, we’ve realised that it’s time we join together to demand better pay and conditions. You know that guy above who blamed Centrelink for why he can’t get workers? Well this story a few weeks later alleges that he’s no picnic to work for. Some of his former employees claim he was “verbally abusive” and a “nightmare” to work with. Turns out there’s a lot more to that story than meets the eye.

The fact is, hospo workers have been treated pretty poorly for a while. With fewer of us in the industry, we’re facing longer hours, harder work and an increase of employee burnout in the hospitality industry.

So, what can we do?

This is a perfect opportunity for us to join together and demand fair conditions for all hospo workers. There are lots of things we can do to improve our own lives and the hospitality industry.

1. Look after yourself

First thing’s first – make sure you look after yourself and keep an eye on the signs of burnout. If you’re finding you’re not getting enough sleep, time with your friends or family, or are drinking more alcohol or taking more drugs, you might be burned out.

Some tips to reduce your stress include getting some exercise, taking more time for yourself, and talking to someone about how you’re feeling. There are more tips in this article.

2. Know your rights

If you think you’re working way too many hours, check what’s legal with our Mobilise app. You don’t have to work overtime if your boss asks you. In fact, you’re within your rights to say no. And if you decide to work overtime, you should get paid for it.

There’s a term called “reasonable overtime” that’s in a lot of contracts and causes some confusion (and at times exploitation). This means you might be expected to work a few extra hours some weeks. However, you should be paid for those extra hours you work.

3. Take breaks

You are entitled to breaks at work, particularly if you’re working long shifts. Working without a break is not only tiring, it’s dangerous. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to make a mistake.

4. Organise your colleagues

If you’re in a workplace that isn’t following the rules, have a chat with your colleagues about doing something about it. Work out what your rights are and use your collective power to make some change. Here are some tips for making it happen.

5. Review your employer

Make sure you review your employer, whether good or bad, on Fair Plate. When you write the true story about your workplace, you can help other hospo workers find the best venues to work at and help them avoid the dodgy ones.

Feeling inspired? Join Hospo Voice to make change in your workplace.

Want to read more about working in hospo?

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