Government to enact legislation to ensure all tips are passed on

Theresa May has pledged to stop restaurants deducting money from tips given by customers to waiters and bar staff.

The move,  which will require legislation, follows a public outcry in 2015, when it emerged that many High Street chains were taking up to 10% of tips paid by credit and debit card.

Announcing the move, the prime minister said, “We want to ensure that everyone is treated fairly in the workplace. That’s why we will introduce tough new legislation to ensure that workers get to keep all of their tips – banning employers from making any deductions.”

The promise comes in the government’s response to a consultation that ended two years ago, and it says the change will be fairer for both workers, who get to keep the tips left for them by customers, and customers, who leave tips specifically for the service they receive.

The consultation showed that restaurant customers are overwhelmingly in favour of the tips they pay going to the people that serve them. The government also says it is another example of how it is cracking down on exploitative practices in the workplace.

But UKHospitality has warned that any new statutory legislation regarding tipping is an unnecessary burden. The trade body has also highlighted voluntary measures already undertaken by UKHospitality and the wider sector to ensure fair practice.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said, “The hospitality sector took immediate voluntary action to improve transparency and address concerns around the treatment of tips when the issue was first raised. UKHospitality and Unite have developed an industry Code of Practice which deals with the fair distribution of tips among all staff, not just waiters. As a result, best practice has been widely promoted across the sector.”

She continued, “Some smaller businesses may retain a small proportion of tips to cover the costs of credit card charges and processing payments – but this is a small amount and the practice has been approved by Unite. At a time when costs are mounting for operators in the sector, the Government must be careful about introducing additional legislation. There is no evidence that further legislation, which may have unforeseen consequences for staff, is necessary at this time.”

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