Tipping legislation ‘an unnecessary burden’ on hospitality

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Stark warning: UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls said the Government needs to be careful about introducing legislation
Stark warning: UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls said the Government needs to be careful about introducing legislation
Trade body UKHospitality (UKH) has warned that any new statutory legislation regarding tipping is an unnecessary burden.

UKH also highlighted voluntary measures already undertaken by the organisation and the wider trade to ensure fair practice.

The trade body, which represents more than 700 companies, including pubs, said it had provided its members with a code of practice, approved by trade union Unite, which promotes the fair distribution of tips among staff.

The BBC has reported that restaurants will be banned from keeping tips from their staff under plans to be announced by Prime Minister Theresa May.

This follows a review two years ago, led by then business secretary Sajid Javid, which recommended all tips went to serving staff.

Tackling tipping abuse

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “This step in tackling tipping abuses has been a long time coming and is in no small part, down to the determined campaigning of Unite and its members.

“As ever, the devil will be in the detail of the legislation the Government brings forward. There will be question marks as to whether it will deal with the myriad of scams some restaurants use to pilfer staff tips to boost their profits.

“Unite will be seeking assurances from ministers the legislation the Government introduces truly delivers fair tips for some of the lowest paid workers in the UK and that it is done so in a timely manner.”

Unite and UKH have worked together to produce a code of conduct for the hospitality trade, according to UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls.

She 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."

Fair distribution

Nicholls added: “UKH and Unite have developed an industry code of practice, which deals with the fair distribution of tips among all staff. As a result, best practice has been widely promoted across the sector.

“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 circumstances for staff, is necessary at this time.”

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds said the BBPA had always supported the hospitality industry code of practice, which promotes the fair distribution of tipping among all staff.

She added: "We would be happy to work with the Government to ensure this policy is fair and works in practice."

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