Hospitality workers who clock up “phantom hours” by claiming to have worked longer each week than they actually have are costing the sector £14.4m a week.
That’s according to a survey of shift workers in the sector, which has found that employees overstate their working hours by half an hour a week on average.
The figure is equivalent to a cost of £747m a year to the hospitality sector, rota scheduling firm Rotaready, which conducted the survey, claimed.
The figures came from a wider survey of the hospitality, retail and leisure industries. A total of 502 UK shift workers were interviewed (excluding business owners and sole traders) within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
Across all industries, scheduling issues were cited by employees as the main reason they overstate their hours, with half of respondents stating “I worked through my break”, while others argued they simply had “too much to do”.
Other reasons for overstating hours included being underpaid (15%), while one in six said they did it because “everyone does”.
Half (53%) of shift workers in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries admitted to having pulled a sickie and almost one in five have exaggerated their hours because they believed they were “correcting an injustice”.
Carl Holloway, co-founder of Rotaready said: “The huge problem of phantom hours is a symptom of shift workers feeling they’re unfairly treated at work. However, managing a workforce is no easy feat for employers, especially across multiple sites. Managers are being forced to work with antiquated and inflexible systems – in many cases still using pen and paper – to handle complex issues such as payroll, forecasting and staff scheduling.”