The government has announced plans to introduce new legislation “at the earliest opportunity” to ensure that tips left for workers providing a service will go to them in full.
There have been plenty of examples of restaurants such as Belgo and Café Rouge taking a percentage from the service charges left for staff. Other examples of exploitation include employers using tips left for staff to make up wages to ensure compliance with the national minimum wage.
The government previously looked at this issue in 2016 when it launched a consultation. This ultimately resulted in a voluntary code of practice rather than any new law. Clearly it now feels it is appropriate to legislate and force employers to change bad practices.
The devil will be in the detail of the legislation, it is not yet clear exactly what the new law will cover. For example, will tips still be able to be shared with kitchen staff? The new law will have to “fit all” as practices across the leisure and retail sector vary so much. It is to be hoped therefore that the legislation will be clear, simple and easily applied, otherwise, loopholes are likely to emerge.