Government considers legislation about tipping

Tips in restaurants, hotels and bars should go to workers and not their employers, the government said in a report published today, according to a report in The Guardian.

After a review of tipping practices, the government said charges imposed on staff tips by employers should be scrapped or limited. Service charges on customers’ bills should also be clear and voluntary, the proposals said.

The business secretary, Sajid Javid, who launched the investigation, said some restaurant chains were exposed for withholding some or all of the service charges from staff – often without customers’ knowledge.

The government is seeking views on options to ensure staff get more of their tips including:

  • Banning employer deductions from discretionary service payments other than for tax. 
  • Limiting such deductions to the cost of processing credit card tips and dealing with the payment through payroll.
  • Banning or restricting employers from charging waiting staff a percentage of their table sales during a shift.       

Mr Javid said the government would decide whether to make changes by revamping the current code of practice or, to give the rules more weight, enshrining them in legislation.

The government said customers often did not understand the charges were at their discretion and that they deterred diners from leaving a tip on top. Businesses could be banned from adding a service charge or forced to make it clearer that the charge is discretionary.

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