If your hospitality business employs students, you can help us transform student-employer relations in a way that will benefit your business and the future of the industry. You will also join a network of student-friendly businesses and develop a closer collaboration with educational institutions. 

Zero-hours contracts offer employers in the hospitality sector a flexible way to meet irregular staffing needs with the benefit of a reduced financial outlay that may otherwise prevent them from maintaining a cohort of staff.

Employers may be surprised, however, to learn of the challenges faced by student-workers on zero-hours contracts. In an industry that relies on them to fill a multitude of roles — in bars, restaurants, cafes, and hotels — there is much to be gained from redressing the balance of benefit between employer and student-worker. For an insight into the student experience, see our  student page and FAQs.

The benefits to employers of investing in student-workers through support for their working rights, enhancing pay where appropriate, and offering training and development opportunities include:

Retention of student-workers for the duration of their study (at a minimum)

Enhancement of employer’s and industry’s reputation

Improvement of the early experiences of work for all young people, including students.

More meaningful relationships at work and more committed workers

Reinforcement of positive perceptions of the business as a current and potential future employer

Laptop on desk

Our research

Our research, conducted among students employed in the hospitality sector, suggests the flexibility of zero-hours contracts often works in favour of the employer. As a result, instead of choosing part-time hours that fit around their study, students find themselves committing to shifts that can conflict with their revision and examination timetables – or struggling to maintain a steady income. Many are left too tired to properly revise for exams or focus on assignments. They can feel undervalued by their employer, expendable if they don’t agree to everything asked of them, and exposed to abuse from customers and other members of staff. They are often passed over for training opportunities, and while some continue working in hospitality, many turn their backs on the industry to pursue careers elsewhere.

Hospitality, Now! is working with students, employers, universities and colleges, and hospitality industry bodies to transform the situation. We want to make zero-hours contract work better for students and for all stakeholders involved in the employment of students in hospitality. We believe everyone can benefit from improved practice.

How can employers make a difference?

Take practical action, now!


Policy Brief for Employers

Download our  Policy Brief for Employers and consider adopting the recommended practices. Our framework of operation for employing students is critical to positive change for the benefit of all. We call it the  8F Framework of Good Principles in Student Employment. It identifies eight key areas for transformation: finance, flexibility, fundamentals, fairness, a fear-free environment, freedom, friendships, and futures in the workplace.


The Good Student Employer Charter

The  Good Student Employer Charter has been developed for businesses in the visitor economy (tourism, hospitality, events, leisure) that employ student-workers and want to champion best practice in student employment. By signing the Charter you can publicly declare your intention as an employer to take practical steps to commit to pursuing best practice where student employment is concerned. The Charter is accredited by the Lincoln International Business School (University of Lincoln) and for businesses that sign up, a range of promotional materials will be provided to publicise their commitment to improving the student-worker’s experiences.  Sign up here.


Contribute to the debate

As an employer you may wish to contribute by  submitting your comments, stories or questions. We are keen to hear your perspective, and we are always on the lookout for good practice case studies to showcase.


Access our resources

There is a  range of resources available through this website to help you, as an employer in the hospitality sector, in your use of zero-hours contracts.