Tories to ban restaurant owners from taking share of tips

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Tories to ban restaurant owners from taking share of tips

Restaurant owners will be banned from deducting money from tips earned by waiters and other staff, Theresa May will announce on Monday, more than two years after such a ban was first proposed in an official review.

The decision to back the measure follows a string of revelations about companies deducting money from serving staff, typically from card payments. The restaurants have included Bella Italia, Giraffe and Pizza Express, although they have since stopped the practice.

May will say the tips ban is intended to ensure everyone is treated fairly in the workplace. She will say: “That’s why we will introduce tough new legislation to ensure that workers get to keep all of their tips – banning employers from making any deductions.”

Two years ago, a review led by the then business secretary, Sajid Javid, when David Cameron was prime minister, recommended that all tips went to serving staff, not their employers. At the time, the minister said the government would consider whether to toughen up an existing voluntary code, or legislate.

The trade union Unite said restaurant chains had been taking advantage of the government’s failure to regulate since the conclusion of the review after it emerged earlier this year that TGI Fridays had begun deducting 40% of card tips to waiters in order to pass them on to kitchen staff in lieu of a pay rise. The chain has been hit by a series of strikes. As tips do go to staff it is not clear if this would be covered by the proposed ban, because the money is going from one set of staff to another.

A 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.
“Unite will be seeking assurances from ministers that 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.”

Pizza Express briefly levied an 8% deduction on tips paid by card, but abandoned the practice in 2015 after a campaign. Other restaurant chains have proposed similar deductions, but after adverse publicity these have usually been abandoned.

No timeframe was given for the proposed legislation banning deductions – Downing Street said it would do so in due course.

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