Hoteliers Say Staff Not Coming To Work On Holidays

Steadroy Benjamin

Discussions have intensified regarding outstanding concerns expressed by hoteliers about the practice of absenteeism on public holidays by some employees in the sector.


This follows representations and complaints, which were made to the Minister of Labour the Hon. Steadroy Cutie Benjamin by several hoteliers and members of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotel Association.


The Minister’s attention was drawn to the fact that on Whit Monday, June 10th, there was a shortage in the workforce because several employees did not report for duty. This reportedly had serious repercussions on the ability of several properties to adequately meet the needs of their guests.


Consequently, the Minister of Labour on Thursday met with the executive members of the Hotel Association, the bargaining agent for hotel workers – the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union, the Minister of Tourism Hon. Max Fernandez and other government officials.


During this discussion, it was agreed that a clear policy must be devised concerning work on public holidays since it was felt that workers were entitled to refuse to work on a public holiday if they so desire.


It was accepted that due to the nature of employment within the hotel industry, the position being taken by some employees must be examined by all parties and adequately resolved for the further improvement of service in the viable sector.





Further discussions on the pertinent matter will take place in a scheduled to be held on July 8th. The event will take place at the Verandah Resort and Spa beginning at 10 am, at which all stakeholders to include Unions, the Antigua and Barbuda Employers Federation, the Antigua and Barbuda Chamber of Commerce, Hotel Association and other interested parties from civil society are expected to attend.


Minister Benjamin was high in praise for the lively interaction, constructive discussions and cordial manner in which the meeting was conducted since all parties recognized the importance of addressing this issue of national interest and importance.

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  1. We know a lot of Antiguans think they can do as they please and have no respect for persons or positions. Don’t know what the procedure is at hotels but the staff should be paid double time for working on a holiday. Maybe this will be an incentive for them to show up for work. Those who don’t show up for work should be fired. What do they want the hotels to do, close down on holidays? Not fair to the other staff members who show up as they have to cover for the rest.

      • Hotel workers are not the only people who have to work on holidays. What about nurses, police officers and firemen. What would happen to the patients in the hospital if the majority of the nurse, doctors and other staff members stayed home. Everyone knows the in certain industries people have to work holidays and weekends.

        • @ My two cents
          Point taken…….but many institutions uses temporary nurses….nursing homes, private clinics, etc….firemen has a different type of discipline.


      Ah! One still captivated.

      Thought Bob Marley did say ‘…Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.’

    • Ah so fired go?? You sound so BITTER!!! If you are the faithful that goes out on your schedules holiday shift and nobody else dey just work and hush.. bout fired chuuups. FIX YA SLAVE MENTALITY, PAY A MAN WHAT HE DESERVES AND WORK HE SHALL!! If EMPLOYERS paid what is required as holiday pay then staff absenteeism on such occasions may very well be a thing of the past. Employees get too much of the shitty end of the stick in this place and then employers run to government to legislate and tweak and do the most to suit their wicked practices. EMPLOYEES STAND UP AND OUT OF CUTIE COME BACK TO YALL WITH ANY BS. EMPLOYERS IN ANTIGUA TOO WICKED ESPECIALLY HOTELIERS

  2. Is freedom really freedom?

    Employers should know that a public holiday is approaching and put things in place and stop blaming employees for exercising their rights.

    Communicate with employees to determine who prefers to be off on the holiday and schedule them accordingly.

    Those who prefer to work on the holiday schedule them to work.

    If there is a short fall bring in temporary workers for the day.

    Problem solved in 20 seconds….

    • No one likes to work on holidays that is why there are prepared schedules. Of course there has to be fairness so that certain employees are not always given the holidays off. Can’t bring in temps in certain industries because of the skills required. Try bringing temporary nurses, police officers and firefighters. Read @Genuine and if this is the case then management must share the blame.

    • No one likes to work on holidays that is why there are prepared schedules. Of course there has to be fairness so that certain employees are not always given the holidays off. Can’t bring in temps in certain industries because of the skills required. Try bringing temporary nurses, police officers and firefighters. Read @Genuine and if this is the case then management must share the blame. Let the employees sign at contact when they are hired that will be required to work some holidays. If they are schedule to work and an important issue came up they can arrange to switch with another employee or have a discussion with management who can probably find another employee to fill in. Not showing up because you may want to go on a picnic is irresponsible.

  3. When employers create negative work environment, employees generally go to the work place because of the water.

    Employers who creates friendly comfortable work environment has no such problems. The employees generally look forward to going to work. As a matter of fact when thier shift is over they do not want to go home.

    The source of the problem is not the employees but management and owners.


      Absolutely correct ‘…Melchi.’

      As always, the only place people do not wish to go to is hell.
      Some workplaces are so considered.’

      Those that employ must create ‘…an Enabling Environment’; one that is conducive to working.’
      Even if the earth shakes, no employee would run.

      Whether or not on public holidays, create hardship, certain conditions and difficulties, and you will see what happens.

      Not sure how the Labor Minister may approach this, but he should remind and guide himself, along with the complaining hoteliers of the ‘…Founding Constitutional Principle’ that states;

      ‘…Labour should not be exploited or ‘FORCED’ by economic necessity to operate in inhuman conditions’ [CO: 1981: Principle B].

      Insist that they change,

      (a) ‘…their attitude; and
      (b) …the working conditions.’

      Not a workers’ messenger, so don’t shoot.
      Moreover, don’t change the ‘…Constitutional principle.’

    • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! In this the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015 – 2024, the phenomena of Hotel ‘Staff Not Coming To Work On Holidays’, cannot be “apprehended adequately without locating it first. A phenom must be studied and analyzed in relationship to psychological time and space. It must always be located. This is the only way to investigate the complex interrelationships of science and art, design and execution, creation and maintenance, generation and tradition, and other areas bypassed by theory.” – Asante!
      In this age of Digital Analytics and in an Industry, Monitoring and Evaluation is of key import to survival! Are Reporters and Stakeholders seeking the correct information! This Sector is Performance driven and requires excellent harmony of Values for both Management, Employees, GoAB, Stakeholders and other Publics! After all, performance is ultimately the point! This clearly cries out for implementing good data analytics to arrive at a transformative and sustainable Values driven outcome! Not only should we be concerned with pristine data sets on attendance, interesting patterns, or killer algorithms but on clear purposes of the data and the Core Values of the Hospitality and Tourism Sector’s approach to define and improve performance continually as competitive dynamics have evolved! Transformation is urgently needed for the future given the political, educational, socio-cultural, technological, legal and ecological environment not only on the Rock but also the countries from which our visitors come!
      Better performance requires clarity of Policy! Hence if this is a Sector Priority are the right questions being asked! How can Employee Absenteeism on Public Holidays be reduced! How can Employers increase Employee Motivations! Even better are questions that drill further down: How can Employers improve the productivity of each member of the team! How can Employers, Employees, Unions, GoAB, Stakeholders and other Publics improve the quality of outcomes for Visitors! How can Employers, Unions, GoAB, Stakeholders and other Publics radically speed up customer service transformation and bring about a change in Employee Behaviours! This requires redesigning, re-engineering and realigning critical functions with the Shared Values for the Hospitality Tourism Sector. The relevant data and circumstances must be clearly recorded, given underlying experiences and cultural expectations! Alternative actions must be fully discussed and agreed to actions implemented!
      “But let us be clear: what matters is to stop talking about output, and intensification, and the rhythm of work.” – Fanon!

    • I second this. Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business. Simple logics.

  4. I totally agree with Melchisedec. The problem is management at the hotels. Since this government work program was introduced permanent hotel staff get sidelined. They work short week or three days one week and off the other week which most times result in them working six days a month while the government trainees work five days every week. They cannot schedule the trainees to work on public holidays so that is when they expect the permanent staff to pick up the slack. Also when the staff refuse they will call in the trainees and pay them $100 from petty cash. The unions and AHTA need to do something about this practice because that is one of the things killing the industry.
    Back in the day people used to look forward to working on public holidays and get upset when they are not scheduled to work.
    It is time we look at the real source of the problem and stop chasing shadows.

  5. Those who won’t work won’t eat (no $$$). Not all jobs are 9 to 5. People know that when they are hired. Management should make that clear from the beginning. No shows should simply be let go. Loyal employees will show up, and they should be rewarded with double pay for holidays. Problem solved. Now, we need to take a look at those government employees who think they have every little holiday off. What does their contract say, or what are the rules? Again, no shows need to be let go. Plenty people want their jobs. The whole place would collapse if everybody had such attitude. Tighten up the rules and enforce them, big time. Workers must be involved in the negotiations, and joint agreements must be signed, and followed….both in the government work force and private establishments as well. That’s how it’s done in ALL of the developed countries, and since we think we are one, then get to it.

  6. I am not surprise of the hotels complaining, the mention of the meeting place says it all, the all inclusive model, they don’t love to pay. Holiday pay is not paid like that, first you have to ask the employee if they are available, scheduling is key, the employee must be scheduled the day before and the day after to receive holiday pay, if they are not it’s a turn off for most employees. There goes the problem scheduling by management, communication is key because the day belongs to the employee. It’s good when employees know their rights, every employee should have a copy of the A&B Labour code.

  7. The hotel where I work is paying time and a half for holidays when it should be double so maby that’s the problem why people are not interested in working holidays because we are not getting the right pay

    • You mean that you are working for a modern day Massah? So they transferred us from the fields to the a.c. but still the same slave/master relationship?


  8. Public holiday is time and a half plus the regular days pay which equates to two and a half pay for the day. That’s according to both the Labour code and the hotel agreement negotiated by AHTA. That is common practice but what some hotels do if they schedule some workers to work on the public holiday they give them the following 3 days off so in the end it is not beneficial to the worker and most times the government trainees fill in for the other days. Please remember the hotel doesnt pay the trainees. That is the responsibility of the government. Only who Is in the kitchen feels the heat.
    It is all well and good to say people should either work or go because lots more are waiting for work but if you were to take one step in some hotel workers shoes you would feel the squeeze.
    Workers are being exploited big time and neither government, unions nor hotel association are lifting a hand to help.

    • So why are workers paying union dues if the unions not doing their job? What are David Massiah and Chester Hughes so busy doing? One of he most frustrating feelings in a work environment is that of feeling like no one has our back.

      Sometime I ago, I heard on the news that a particular hotel was deducting monies from employees’ wages to go towards a thrift fund, but those monies were actually not put into any damn thrift fund.

  9. Hotel workers are absent because most time you ask for the holiday off and they refuse to give you and would prefer to give it to someone who doesn’t really want it off and sometimes you would request such day off long I advance so you would already have made plans like your off then boom you see you working

  10. I am a hotel worker. Once upon a time, employees at my worksite generally loved to work on holidays because u would receive double pay plus the same double for the day on service charge (ie. For the 8 hour shift u get 16hrs pay plus 16hrs of overtime). That also went for overtime. But our oh so faithful union that’s suppose to have the employees best interest at heart seems to be more concerned with the hotels equity n has let them know paying such in service charge isn’t necessary. So now we get the holiday pay n just 8 hrs pay of service charge instead of the 16. Mind you this has been the way of payment since the opening of the hotel. So with our union reps doing such where would be the motivation to work holidays or overtime? Also keep in mind the increase of union dues! Who does the union really represent????

  11. @ My two cents

    Did you read the headline and the article?

    Seem as if you missed the HOTELIERS

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