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UK CHALET FIRMS: HOW TO STAY LEGAL - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Tuesday June 12, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

As French authorities clamp down on catered chalet companies a new Code of Conduct has been issued. The traditional chalet business model is under threat.

The code has been drawn up by a consortium of UK ski travel operators, Seasonal Businesses In Travel (SBIT*).

PlanetSKI has seen a copy.

It comes just a few weeks after the European Parliament approved revised regulations intended to give seasonal workers, such as chalet hosts and resort staff, better pay and working conditions.

EU countries have two years to implement the changes but France, which has more catered ski chalets than any other destination, has already adopted them so any chalet companies must comply immediately.

It's apparent good news for the seasonal or 'posted' worker, but will mean increased costs for the operators - some predict rises of as much as 300% - and, inevitably, higher prices for the customer.

Your chalet ski holiday is set to get more expensive.

SeasonaireGood news for seasonaires















At current rates, the lowest qualified seasonal worker posted to France will have to be paid a minimum of €345.80 for a 35-hour week, given two days a week off and an extra 10 per cent in holiday pay if they've not taken it.

That's considerably more than most have had in the past.

Privately, some firms who intend to sign up to the code have told PlanetSKI they won't stand by and watch other UK operators break the law on workers' pay and hours.

There is now considerable worry about the future, and cost, of the the traditional UK ski chalet package holiday.

The main points

  • Seasonal workers must be paid at least the minimum wage for the sector (currently €9.88 an hour)
  • Travel to the job, accommodation and food (including on days off) must be provided on top on the wage
  • Additional benefits (eg lift pass, equipment hire, insurance, discounts on drinks) may be deducted from the minimum wage but only if clearly stated in the contract of employment
  • Any deductions made must be actual costs with supporting evidence and listed on the payslip
  • Staff accommodation must meet strict minimum requirements including no bunk beds in shared rooms
  • UK chalet firms posting seasonal staff must carry out their substantial activities (have their registered offices, pay their taxes etc) in the UK and not France and have documentary proof
  • Documentation, including employment contracts, payslips, timesheets, health and safety risk assessments - translated into French - must be available on site if required by inspectors
Chalet in FranceStrict rules for UK chalet operators in France













The penalties for getting it wrong are serious and it's thought that the French work inspectors will step up their inspections next season.

SBIT says companies posting seasonal workers to France illegally could face criminal proceedings and, in the case of a serious breach, be closed down within 72 hours.

"This change will have a huge impact on all operators and may in the end be fatal for some," one company head told PlanetSKI.

Chalet in FranceChalet in France















Ski Amis, which is part of SBIT, has told PlanetSKI it is making changes to comply with the revised regulations.

"We have gradually been changing the structure of our staff contracts for a couple of years now to prepare for this and we will be employing more staff for the coming season to make sure we are fully compliant by the winter," the company says.

"We think it's important to maintain the level of service to our customers so the additional resources will allow us to keep offering 6 fully catered days and breakfast/afternoon tea cover on the 7th day as well."

Increasing costs and the approaching Brexit is already having an impact with more smaller operators going out of business.

The latest to go under is Ski Bonjour, which ran chalets in Tignes and Val d'Isere.

The company sent this email to its contacts in the industry on 1st June:

"It is with regret that I am writing to inform you that unfortunately due to financial challenges arising from Brexit, Ski Bonjour Ltd has had to cease trading with immediate effect.

"Please could you cancel our chalet listings and account details, where applicable?

"We thank you for working with us and supporting us over the last 10 years. We are bitterly disappointed that we are not able to continue to work in the industry."


*SBIT is made up of more than 100 British-owned businesses including Skiworld, Hotelplan (Inghams/Esprit/SkiTotal), Ski Amis, Ski Weekends and Zenith Holidays.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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