Restaurants to be banned from skimming tips

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to legally ban restaurants from deducting any money from tips given by customers to waiters are bar staff.

Announcing the move, the prime minister said: “The unemployment rate under this government is now the lowest since the 1970s – but we want to ensure that everyone is treated fairly in the workplace.

“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. It’s another way we are building an economy that works for everyone.”

The move will stop some of the biggest names on the high street deducting up to 10% from employees’ tips, which in some cases is standard practice, as reported by the BBC.

According to the government, Belgo, Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, Giraffe, Prezzo and Strada all deduct 10%, and Ask and Zizzi 8%, although some are already in the process of changing their policy.

Pizza Express previously levied an 8% deduction on tips paid by card, but abandoned the practice in 2015.

The legislation would apply in England, Scotland and Wales, and follows a string of revelations about companies deducting money from serving staff, typically from card payments.

Recently, it emerged that TGI Friday’s had been deducting 40% of card tips to waiters in order to pass them on to kitchen staff in lieu of a pay rise, resulting in a series of strikes by staff.

Two years ago a review under David Cameron’s government concluded that all tips should go to serving staff rather than employers, providing a voluntary code of conduct, but stopped short of legislation.

The trade union Unite said restaurant chains had been taking advantage of the government’s failure to regulate since the conclusion of the review.

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.”

No timeframe has been given on the proposals.

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