So dire has the shortage of hospitality staff in Northern NSW become, that the local chapter of the NSW business chamber is calling on retired workers to dust off their aprons and help out.
Drawing on data from their Quarterly Business Conditions Survey, the chamber (now known as Business NSW) says there is a staffing crisis across the state, particularly among regional hospitality businesses.
‘Northern Rivers accommodation and food services businesses are under a lot of pressure with 89.1 per cent of business leaders in this sector reporting a staffing crisis as their major concern for recovery’, said Jane Laverty, Regional Manager Business NSW Northern Rivers.
‘We need to think differently if we are to retain and rebuild one of our most significant economic drivers and one of the hardest hit sectors impacted by the Covid restrictions and lockdowns,’ Mrs Laverty said.
‘We’ve been calling out to young people to consider a summer job in local cafes and restaurants, we’ve done the call out to the ‘Mumforce’ who may be picking a career back up and now we are asking retirees to consider putting some of their time back in to work life to help us out of this crisis.
Business NSW has written to the Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg calling on the government to let age pension recipients earn more.
Currently, a pensioner can earn up to $300 of employment income a fortnight – or $7800 a year – without reducing their pension
The $300 is on top of the money they can earn each fortnight ($180 if single, or $320 if a couple) before affecting their Age Pension payments.
‘Increasing the limit would allow pensioners the opportunity to earn more money in this current climate and would help businesses who are struggling to find staff have access to a pool of potential workers and wonderful mentors for the younger staff coming through,’ Mrs Laverty said.
Business NSW is hoping the Government can make the change in the coming weeks via its Mid-Year Economic & Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO)
‘It is so important that we get this sector back on its feet and with a few outside of the box strategies I think we can do it.” Mrs Laverty said.