After announcing that his ritzy Post Oak Hotel would “temporarily” eliminate paid time off benefits for employees, billionaire restaurateur Tilman Fertitta has reversed course.
A spokesperson for the hotel told the Houston Chronicle that Post Oak Hotel employees will be able to use vacation pay if their hours are cut, and the company will continue pay and benefits through the end of June, or whenever “normal operations” resume. Originally, employees had been told that all time off would have to be taken unpaid due to declining business at the Hotel during the coronavirus crisis.
A representative for Fertitta says that the restaurateur was not aware of the memo circulated to employees by Post Oak Hotel general manager Jorge Gonzales, which informed employees that paid time off was off the table for now. “During the two week Food and Beverage business closure we will be working very hard to rebook and reschedule group business that has cancelled,” general manager Jorge Gonzalez wrote in the original memo announcing the elimination of paid time off. “We will be working hard to ensure that our business levels recover quickly and that we are ready to greet them and provide excellent customer service once again.”
Along with the rest of the hotel’s staff, the decision would have impacted employees who work at the Post Oak Hotel’s seven dining establishments and bars, including Mastro’s Steakhouse and Willie G’s Seafood, both operated by Fertitta’s massive restaurant company Landry’s, Inc.
According to Forbes, Fertitta’s net worth still hovers around $4.4 billion, despite recent stock market chaos and economic uncertainty. He has spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying up restaurant chains like Del Frisco’s and The Palm over the past year.
UPDATE: This post has been updated throughout to reflect that Fertitta’s company reversed its decision to eliminate paid time off for employees “temporarily.”