A chalet operator has said moving seasonal workers onto European employment contracts would add about 30% to payroll costs – and could push up holiday prices 10%.
Stuart Pinnell, chairman and co-founder of Consensio Chalets, told TTG the company had already factored an 8-10% increase in costs into its prices for the 2019/20 season.
Consensio manages 12 chalets and seven apartments in the French Alps, staffed by about 90 UK employees seconded to work in Europe under the Posted Workers Directive (PWD).
However, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the PWD would cease to apply on March 30, whereby Consensio would seek instead to employ its staff under local employment laws.
This, however, would come at a considerable cost to the company, the chalet owners and ultimately consumers, Pinnell said.
“If, or when, we move onto French contracts, it will add about 30% to the payroll,” said Pinnell. “We’re fortunate to be able to reflect this in our prices. We have the advantage of high-end clientele who don’t want to do without this, that or the other. It’s the mid-market companies that are going to have a real challenge.”
EU member states, most notably France, this season started enforcing more stringent revisions to the PWD, requiring operators to pay posted staff the same as local employees, limit their hours to 35 a week and ensure they get two days off a week.
Tim Latimer, director of luxury chalet specialist Firefly Collection, said it was an open secret many seasonal employees working six-day weeks have historically been paid much less than their locally employed counterparts.
“If these workers are all paid full French or Swiss minimum wage, it will affect prices,” said Latimer.
Paul Carter, chief executive of Inghams parent Hotelplan UK, told delegates at Abta’s Brexit and the Future of Travel seminar last week the challenges posed to seasonal workers put many companies’ operating models at risk.
He added it was “inevitable” holiday costs would go up amid changes to UK-EU employment law.
Luke Petherbridge, Abta’s head of public affairs, said in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the issue of posted workers would likely be managed bilaterally.