Bill requiring restaurants to tip staff wins support from MPs | Labor law

A bill requiring restaurants to hand over all tips to their staff, including service charges, will come into force after gaining support from MPs.

The Private Members’ Tipping Bill was introduced by Tory MP Dean Russell after a broader jobs bill, which was to include the new rules, was delayed.

It will make it illegal for employers to withhold tips and service charges from staff, and give them the right to see an employer’s tipping record in order to take an employment tribunal.

A new statutory code of practice is also to be developed to provide businesses and staff with guidance on how tips should be distributed.

The government, which formally backed the bill at its second reading in parliament on Friday, where it was passed by MPs, said it would benefit more than 2 million workers.

The Unite union, however, which has pushed for legislation to protect restaurant workers, said it was not convinced the new rules would be adequate.

The union said proper reform would require the scrapping of the controversial trunk system, under which a committee of staff members votes on the distribution of tips paid on a card. Unions also want tips distributed through payroll.

Dave Turnbull, national hospitality manager at Unite, said: “This bill has been around for a long time, but it certainly cannot be the last word on tip protection. As a union that has been fighting for reform for years, it was pressure from workers that even took this first step towards change. It is essential that what is passed into law enjoys the full confidence of hotel staff.

“Unfortunately, at this stage, we are not convinced that these measures will solve the problems related to tipping practices in the hospitality industry.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, which represents hundreds of restaurants, bars and pubs, said: “Tipping and service charges provide a significant and welcome boost to hospitality workers’ money. We are therefore delighted to see that this bill recommends that employers can establish a fair distribution policy for staff, which means that they all benefit.

The plan to crack down on restaurants withholding staff tips was first proposed by the government more than five years ago and promised as recently as September last year.

However, hopes had faded that the new rules would be introduced after a second year of delay for the Jobs Bill, which was first promised December 2019 after Boris Johnson’s general election victory and claimed as a way to improve post-Brexit UK workers’ rights.


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