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"We have to understand Jersey has become an unbelievably expensive place to live"

Wednesday 26 January 2022

"We have to understand Jersey has become an unbelievably expensive place to live"

Wednesday 26 January 2022


The Government needs to create a 10-year plan, and employers must face up to the reality of rises in the cost of living for staff, to help tourism keep thriving, according to the owner of Jersey's first hotel to pay the Living Wage.

The Living Wage takes into account the wider cost of living in the island, with the aim of ensuring employees are able to live with dignity.

The rate for 2022 is £11.27 per hour, and is reviewed annually, with accredited businesses having six months to implement the new rate from 1 January each year.

The Atlantic Hotel this week became the first hotel to join the Living Wage accreditation scheme, which will come in addition to other benefits staff currently receive, such as tips and service charges.

Owner and Managing Director Patrick Burke said the hotel's motivation was linked to wanting to provide a competitive offer to secure the best possible staff, while also acknowledging the increasing cost of living in Jersey. This, he said, should help create a "sustainable" future for the hotel.

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Pictured: The hotel is now accredited for paying the living wage rate, which this year is set at £11.27 per hour. 

"We have a fantastic team at the Atlantic, and we've had a lot of success over those years, but we want to do the right thing by them, we want to encourage them to stay with us and we can see that not just in hospitality but in the world at large, that wages are becoming very competitive," he explained.

"If we need the best people then it follows we need to look after them, and that doesn't just mean wages, in the round it means we need to continue to provide all the other benefits that they currently receive, and that we look to not only keep our very good people, but attract new people."

Members of the hospitality industry have previously pushed back on politicians' efforts to increase the minimum wage, with the Jersey Hospitality Association voicing concerns about the adverse impact it could have on businesses.

However, Mr Burke said he thought it inevitable that there would be sharp rises in the minimum wage in the coming years amid leaps in the cost of living locally, and that paying the Living Wage now allowed the hotel to "get ahead of the game."

"I think we have to face reality here, and we have to understand Jersey has become an unbelievably expensive place to live, and an unbelievably expensive place to do business, which is one of the factors that's affecting our long-term learning for our own business," he said.

"And I think that what we're trying to do here is to get ahead of the minimum wage, but I would expect that the minimum wage will very likely increase quite significantly in the coming years."

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Pictured: Mr Burke said he expected the minimum wage to increase "significantly" in the coming years.

When discussing this shift, and further measures needed to attract quality staff and help the industry to thrive, he also noted a need to "redouble our efforts to attract local people into the industry," which he looked to Government to help support.

"I think here's a bigger picture, and we would certainly be looking to the Government to lay this all out in a plan, perhaps a 10-year plan for the next decade or so about how can we possibly go on being successful as being a holiday island, and what does it take to get there," he said.

"Clearly one of the things it takes is having good people, and there are a lot of strands to that question.

"But the simple answer... is we do it by first of all identifying that there's a problem, and secondly by working together to solve it, and critically we need the Government to show that it values our industry."

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Pictured: Jennifer Bridge, who spearheads Jersey's Living Wage campaign, giving Patrick Burke the accreditation.

The Jersey Living Wage accreditation scheme is managed locally by Caritas.

Campaign Leader Jennifer Bridge said the team was "thrilled to announce that The Atlantic Hotel is the first hotel in Jersey to become an accredited Living Wage employer."

"Whether working for or staying as a guest of The Atlantic Hotel, you know that you are dealing with a business that cares for its staff and pays the Living Wage," she added.

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Posted by Keith Marsh on
Congratulations to The Atlantic Hotel for showing the way forward and ensuring their wonderful staff have a decent standard of living.
Paying the Living Wage, which will come in addition to other benefits staff currently receive, such as tips and service charges, should assist this forward looking Company, keeps the quality staff pool they have built up..
Come on the rest of you Hoteliers it is time to follow the Leader.
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