Help wanted


“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

The hospitality workforce is struggling to hire enough people, and worker shortages are straining the ability of the hospitality industry to keep up. AAHOA is actively working with lawmakers to address this problem.

The Biden Administration introduced a new regulation aimed at extending eligibility for overtime pay to an additional 3.6 million workers across the country. The Department of Labor’s proposal says salaried executive, administrative, and professional employees earning less than $1,059 per week (previously $684) or $55,068 annually (previously $35,568) would now qualify for overtime compensation. On April 23, 2024 the DOL announced the final rule, with a January 1, 2025 start date for implementation of the highest salary levels, which can then be adjusted and increased on July 1, 2027, and every 3 years thereafter.

This final rule fails to consider today’s diverse workforce. Small business owners, like many AAHOA Members, may face elevated labor costs, ultimately leading to inevitable hikes in consumer prices.

In response, AAHOA is advocating for the Overtime Pay Flexibility Act (H.R. 7367), which would prevent the Secretary of Labor from implementing the final rule. This measure aims to shield small business owners from excessive financial burdens.

There is much more we can do to address and alleviate the labor shortage.

  • First, caps on the H2-B visa program should be eliminated altogether so there are no constraints on addressing employers’ needs for additional seasonal workers.
  • Another way is to allow these visas to be valid for multiple years so businesses do not have to undergo the onerous filing process every year.

The hospitality industry is not the only one that depends on seasonal workers. Key sectors of the economy, such as tourism, landscaping, seafood production, and more, rely on these workers in places where there are simply not enough U.S. workers available.

AAHOA maintains a firm position that federal inaction should not hinder states from addressing the needs of their economies. Alleviating labor shortages could enhance productivity and allay supply constraints, thereby curbing inflation.

The SEASONAL Act (S. 2705), a bipartisan initiative, proposes to empower governors to seek additional H-2B visas beyond the national cap of 66,000. Should it become law, governors from states with an unemployment rate of 3.5% or lower would have the authority to request visas on a statewide basis, within specific labor categories, or for targeted economic regions.

They must provide evidence of a persistent demand for labor without displacing local workers or depressing wages. Notably, the bill does not preclude state legislatures from imposing constraints on these requests.

AAHOA remains committed to endorsing this legislation to offer a potential solution to worker shortages.

Clearly, there is no shortage of options to address the shortage of hospitality workers. We must do more to rebuild our workforce and ensure hotels across America are more hospitable than ever.


Comments are closed.