Anger over plans to scrap tips law

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tipping battle: plans to allow sector staff to keep all tips were first spoken about in 2016 (credit: Getty/Peter Cade)
Tipping battle: plans to allow sector staff to keep all tips were first spoken about in 2016 (credit: Getty/Peter Cade)

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Trade bodies have reacted angrily to national reports that plans to ensure hospitality staff get the tips they have earned have been axed.

Despite a pledge to ensure workers would be able to keep their tips – first mooted six years ago by then business secretary Sajid Javid and reiterated in September last year by business minister Paul Scully – this legislation will not be mentioned in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday 10 May, according to the Financial Times​.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Notwithstanding that this remains speculation ahead of the Queen’s Speech, UKHospitality fully supports fair tipping for staff, and recognises how important it is that there’s complete transparency when it comes to tips, tipping practices, and the fair distribution of them among workers. Indeed, our industry has acted of its own accord to make tipping clearer and fairer, including working closely with unions.

“It’s also important to point out that hospitality sector wages rose steadily on average in the three years pre-Covid and continue to go up. We hope that those increases, coupled with the attraction of tips, will carry on bringing people into the industry.”

Too many unfair schemes

Meanwhile, James Brown, co-founder of cashless tipping platform TipJar and managing director of BrewDog, said: “I am disappointed legislation designed to protect workers tips is reportedly being shelved. I believe most UK hospitality operators aim to do their best in this area, however, there are still too many unfairly administered tip/tronc schemes in existence where large portions of tips do not go to the staff. Recent research by KAM Media shows 84% of staff worry that they are not getting their fair share of credit card tips and service charges.

“As tipping becomes increasingly digital and from multiple sources (such as pay-at-table apps, delivery platforms), I believe improved legal protection for workers is required. TipJar is about transparency and fairness for staff tips – we won’t shy away from continuing to fight for this in the years to come.”

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) also expressed its disappointment over the report.

NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “Disappointed to hear the commitment by Government to ensure staff receive tips from employees, including those in restaurants, and don’t have to share their tips with employers.”

Already difficult enough

Kill continued: “At a time when the hospitality industry is dealing with record vacancy levels, attracting people into work in hospitality businesses is already difficult enough.

“Taking tips off staff at a time when the cost of living is going up and the potential external economic pressures on our staff need to be considered.”

When Scully announced the change in law would see staff get 100% of tips earned in September, it was estimated workers had already lost £10,000 since the wait from Javid’s 2016 recommendation.

Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham said at the time​: “It’s shocking that this group of mainly young workers has had to wait five years for government action to tackle the tips scandal. We will continue to challenge abuses in the workplace and Unite will keep fighting to improve the jobs, pay and conditions of the hospitality workforce.”

Related topics: Legislation

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