Plans to guarantee tips go to hospitality workers on verge of becoming law

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Plans to ensure hospitality workers and others receive their tips in full are on the verge of becoming law.

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill has cleared the House of Lords following line-by-line scrutiny.

The Bill would introduce a legal obligation on employers to ensure all tips, gratuities and service charges are paid to workers in full.

“This gives the staff, often among the least well-paid in hospitality, waiters for instance and others … it gives them the opportunity to insist they are given the service charge which many of us in restaurants pay whenever we go to a restaurant, and they get the tips rather than it going into the profits of perhaps a big company.

“This does not happen that much, but it does happen a bit, and we need to make sure it does not happen at all”

The Government also gave its backing to the plans, with business minister Lord Johnson of Lainston telling peers: “Bringing forward this new law will protect millions of workers, among them many of the lowest paid and give them an avenue to seek remedies.

“Consumers will rest assured the tips they leave are going as intended to reward the good service and hard work of staff, rather than boosting the revenue of businesses.”

The plans have faced a series of delays on the road to becoming law.

A government consultation launched in 2015 found restaurant customers were overwhelmingly in favour of the tips they paid going to the people who served them.

In October 2018, then prime minister Theresa May announced plans to deal with tips but Brexit turmoil prevented the legislation going ahead.

Similarly Boris Johnson, when he was in the top job, also looked to make the change when in October 2019 the Queen’s Speech committed to bring forward the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill.

Following the snap general election that year, the Queen’s Speech incorporated the measures into a proposed Employment Bill – but it did not materialise.

The Queen’s Speech in May 2021, did not list an Employment Bill or a specific Tips Bill.

The issue has finally made progress through a Private Member’s Bill backed by backbench Tories in the Commons and Lords.

The Bill now awaits the final stage of its journey, known as royal assent, before it can become law.

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