Restaurant group shelling out $650,000 to let 250 staff fly to see their families

Owner’s wife made appeal to the restaurant industry about lack of paid time off for senior staff

Restaurant group shelling out $650,000 to let 250 staff fly to see their families

Restaurant owners have come to the aid of senior staff by paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to let them go on holiday to see their families.

With executives taking home average pay in excess of $6m a year, hospitality company Amegy Boulud, owner of Aubergine in London, announced it was paying $650,000 for employees to take time off so they could fly their families.

The chain has 269 members of staff earning more than $100,000 (£68,000), and their average weekly wage is $6,300.

Chief executive, Sid Boulud, said some employees have “deep family ties”, and they were being used to justify leaving the job of their dreams to go travelling.

He told the New York Times: “I had a man in my restaurant in New York working in the front of house for 15 years and finally he was able to go to Thailand to see his ailing mother.”

Such is the fury of executive perks that billionaire William Ackman wrote to the New York state governor to raise the issue of concessions for executives.

Ackman, who owns large stakes in several major retailers, including Starbucks and Procter & Gamble, wrote: “The authors of New York City’s charter forbid public benefits to be offered by companies located in the city – and for good reason. They’re not ‘human resources’.”

Boulud’s wife, Sara, also wrote to the New York Metropolitan Restaurant Association to relay the message: “We offer full time employees who earn more than £68,000 a year leave on certain occasions to take a ‘family day off’ to see their partners or children, and leave at the end of the week. This does not cost the restaurant more money than the employee can make staying at the restaurant, so there is no financial sacrifice by them, and it’s our way of acknowledging their sacrifice in returning to work after the ‘family day off’.”

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