Government regulation in the hospitality industry has increased with time. In this paper, I am going to discuss some of the federal laws or government regulations which affect hotels in US.
This paper will provide the reader with important information about various federal regulations that apply in the hospitality industry. It will also provide important information to persons interested in investing in the hospitality industry within US for it will provide an overview of some of the federal laws that govern hospitality industry with in United States.
New ADA Regulations in Making Room Reservations
The article titled, "Training Hotel Employees to Comply with New ADA Regulations in Making Room Reservations" by Olsen discusses the new regulations implemented by the federal government concerning American with Disability Act (ADA) (Olsen, 2010). According to Olsen, the new regulation requires that all hotels should be designed in such a way that they are accessible to people with disability. The regulation also requires that all hotel managers and owners must train their employees on how to comply with new ADA regulations when making reservations to guests (Olsen, 2010). For hotels to be able to comply with the new ADA regulation, the law will not take effect until March 2012 so that the hotels may have enough time to modify their rooms and train their employees as well.
According to Olsen, hotels will be required to re-design their rooms and dinning areas to make them accessible. They should also "identify and describe accessible features in the hotel and guest rooms offered through their reservations service in enough detail to reasonably permit individual with disability needs" (Olsen, 2010).
It is important for the hospitality industry to be sensitive about the needs of disabled persons. Having accessible guest rooms will allow those persons with disability to enjoy services and facilities enjoyed by persons without disability. Having hotels which are accessible means incorporating accessible features. Accessible feature may include wheelchair paths to substitute stairs, electronic lifts, disabled washrooms and others.
Previously, many hotels industry were not sensitive to the needs of people with disability. Disabled people lacked access to hotels simply because they were inaccessible to them. Others had to cope with the inaccessible guest rooms and other facilities when left with no option but to use them. However, with the new regulation in place, people with disability will be at ease accessing not just hotels, but tourist sites, restaurants, countries, clubs and inns.
Single Minimum Wage Order for Hospitality Industry
The article titled, "Newly Proposed Wage Order Merges Restaurant and Hotel Industry Wage and Hour Requirements" by Traub discusses the recently proposed labor law by the State's Department of Labor in New York. According to Traub (2010), wage orders for restaurant and hotel workers would be combined to form what is referred to as "single Minimum Wage Order" (Traub, 2010). The proposed regulation will address common wage issues in the hotel industry which includes tip credits, minimum wage, allowances, over time and customer service charges (Traub, 2010). In addition, "the wage order would provide helpful guidance for traditionally ambiguous wages issues as the handling of service charges and the definition of an employee uniform of a laundry allowance" (Traub, 2010).
In the newly proposed regulation, food service employees and service employees working in non-resort hotels will require to be paid $7.25 per hour while service employees working in resort hotels will be paid an hourly rate of $8.25. On the other hand, all employers will be required to notify their employees when the hourly rate is changed and also that they will be taking tip credit from their wages. In case a charge is to be placed on food, beverage or on service employee, then the employers will have to notify the customers. Moreover, the proposed regulation states that the employers will have to pay extra for all the extra hours worked by the employee (above 10 hours a day) at the minimum wage rate regardless of whether the minimum wage rate is above the hourly rate or not (Traub, 2010).
This law will enable protection of hotel employees from unscrupulous hotel employers. Service employees both in resort and non-resort hotels will be in a position to receive a minimum hourly rate excluding the credit tips they receive form customers. For instance, in the case of service employees working in resort hotels, minimum hourly rate will be $4.90. This means, that regardless of whether an employee receives a credit tip from the customer or not, the employer will have to pay him/her for the services rendered to the customers. Previously, some hotel employers were using unfair methods of paying their employees by paying them according to the credit tips they received from customers.
On the other hand, the proposed law will protect the employers from losing all the credit tips from customers to their employees. For instance, food service workers will be allowed a maximum of $2.25 per hour as credit tips. Any amount over and above should go to the hotel owner/employer.
Clean Indoor Air Laws
The journal article titled, "Economic Impact of Clean Indoor Air Laws" by Eriksen and Chapoupk (2007), provides information about the economic impact of clean indoor air laws especially in the hospitality industry. The study on the economic impact of clean indoor air laws in hospitality industry are meant to protect hotel and restaurant workers from involuntary inhaling air contaminated with smoke from cigarette (Eriksen & Chaloupka, 2007). The study shows that, implementation of clean indoor air laws in the hospitality industry has no negative economic impact to the business in this sector (Eriksen & Chaloupka, 2007). The law also protects nonsmokers visiting hotels and restaurants from respiratory diseases acquired from secondhand smoking. The law requires that all public indoor places should be free from smoking (Eriksen & Chaloupka, 2007).
Clean indoor air is a requirement in many public places in America. This has enabled to protect nonsmokers from the dangers associated with second hand smoking. In the hotels, clean indoor air laws have already been adopted and implemented. Many hotels in America prohibit smoking and this has contributed to reduction in cigarette consumption as well as reduction in cases related to second hand smoking. The laws have also seen protection of hotel workers from unintentional exposure to second hand smoking.
Expanded Terms for the Americans with Disabilities
In this article, Morris explores the recently expanded terms for Americans with disability as America marked the 20th anniversary for Americans with disability Act (ADA) (Morris, 2010). The new terms provided by ADA which affect hotels include designing their facilities in a way that caters for the needs of the disabled. Morris refers to a Chipotle Mexican Hotel case where the plaintiff was wheelchair bond and could not have view food preparers as they progressed in preparing the foods just like other customers did because the counter was too high. It was decided that all hotels should have their counters with an average eye level of 43 inches; they should have an auxiliary counter in close proximity to the main counter with a maximum height of 36 inches and create facilities that enable disabled people to have greater access to all hotel facilities (Morris, 2010).
Through ADA, disabled people in America have been able to gain greater access to hotel facilities. By having regulations that ensure that the disabled have access to all hotel facilities just like non-disabled persons helps to ensure equality for all in the hotel industry.
To sum everything up, the federal government is currently developing new regulations meant to govern operations in the hotel industry. Many of these regulations are directed towards the working conditions of the employees. We have seen one article discussing the issue of wages and the number of hours an employee is supposed to work in a day. Two of the articles discusses how the government is concerned with the welfare of the disabled, and for this case, it requires all hotels to redesign their facilities to make them accessible to persons with disability. The other article provides a review of the economic impact of clean indoor air in hospitality industry. This article reviews that clean indoor air laws have no economic impact on the hospitality industry, instead, it assist in preventing occurrence of second hand smoking cases.
I found that the ramification of the articles as a whole on the hospitality industry is improvement of services in the hotels. All the four articles agree that government regulations in hotels results in improvement of hospitality industry. This is through providing facilities accessible to all, providing a clean environment free from smoking, development of a single minimum wage order for all employees in hospitality industry and regulation of the maximum hours an employee is supposed to work in the hospitality industry per day.
As I was working on this project, I have learnt many lessons which are of help to me. This project has helped me to learn how to organize my time properly by identifying what should be done and at what time. It has also helped me improve my time management skills and organizing skills. I have been able to improve my ability to organize ideas in a logic manner.
The parts which I encountered with ease include search for information. This is because we used the internet as the main source of our information. The internet has a wide range of information on hospitality industry as well as federal regulations which affect hotels in US. Despite having a source of information which is well loaded, we had difficulty identifying the sources which provided information published in the last 3 months (in trade magazines) and in the last 3 years (in academic journals) as per the requirements of the paper.
However, we were able to trace some relevant information. Another area of difficulty was on organizing ideas in a logical manner. When one is presented with large number of information, it becomes difficult to summarize the information in just a paragraph or two. Nevertheless, as I was trying to summarize the large volumes of information on federal laws affecting hotels in US, I was able to improve my organizing and critical thinking skills.
I have discovered that I will need to improve my reading skills. In order to improve this, I will need to practice reading at least one book (with at least100 pages) a week. This will help me to learn how to read fast without getting lost in between the texts. Finally, if I had to do the project again, I would critically analyze the articles provided to make the paper more efficient. This is because, having to submit the paper within a short period of time does not give provide adequate time for adequate analysis. However, I hope I have the paper correctly.