Unfair tipping targeted by UK government proposals – BBC News

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The business secretary said customers expected tips to go to staff ‘in full’

Measures to tackle unfair tipping practices and boost transparency have been proposed by the government.

It follows claims that some restaurant chains were regularly holding back some or all of the tips meant for staff.

There will be a two-month consultation on the proposals, which the government said would stamp out unfairness.

The hospitality industry said it had always supported greater transparency, while unions said changes would only work if enforced by law.

The new proposals include:

  • updating the current voluntary code of practice and putting it on a statutory footing to increase employer compliance
  • increasing transparency for consumers to make it clearer that tips are discretionary
  • and preventing or limiting any employer deduction from tips except for those required under tax law.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said the government had always been very clear that it wanted “workers who earn a tip to be able to keep it. That’s why I, like many others, was disappointed by the tipping practices of some of our well-known chains. This has to change.

“Today I’m setting out our proposals to make tipping fairer, clamping down on unfair practices and securing a better deal for the millions of workers in the service industry.

“We will look closely at all the options, including legislation if necessary,” Mr Javid said.

The union Unite had been campaigning for action after complaining that some firms were counting tips as part of a worker’s pay.

Announcing its consultation, the government said that 80% of consumers want to see tips go directly to workers or distributed among staff.

‘Rogue employers’

Dave Turnbull, Unite’s officer for the hospitality sector said it would need the support of the law to make any change effective.

“The problem has always been that tips paid on a credit card and service charges are deemed the property of the employer,” he said.

“As they own them they can do what they like with them. Until staff are recognised as the lawful owners of their hard-earned tips with complete control over how they are shared out, rogue employers will continue to cream off staff tips.”

The British Hospitality Association (BHA), which represents over 40,000 establishments in the UK, said the proposals should help bring greater transparency to tipping for workers and consumers.

“Transparency is precisely what we asked the government to consider”, said BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim. “Customers should be able to reward good service and know where their money ends up and how much of it goes to the staff.

“Over the coming few weeks, we will convene a series of meetings with hospitality business leaders across the UK and conduct our own impact assessment, to deliver a unified and robust response to inform the government’s decision making process.”

The consultation period will now run until 27 June 2016.

Unfair tipping targeted by UK government proposals – BBC News