Small businesses in the hotel and catering sector are labouring more than most under the burden of government regulation and this could be preventing them employing more staff, says a survey from NatWest bank.
Small hotel and catering firms spent an average of seven hours a month dealing with employee-related paperwork.
This was the highest of any industry and compared with the overall average of 3.2 hours a month and only 1.3 hours for firms in the wholesale sector.
The next highest secor was transport and communication, at 5.1 hours a month.
More than seven out of 10 firms (71%) in the hotel and catering sector felt they spent too much time dealing with employee-related paperwork.
And 61% felt they spent too much time dealing with general paperwork and regulations.
This compared with an average of 49% of firms and was second only to agriculture and mining (75%), a sector that has to deal with stringent health and safety regulations.
More than half of businesses in all sectors admitted to either reducing the number of staff they employ or avoiding taking on more people because of concerns over paperwork, said the study for Mentor, NatWest's small business advice service.
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