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“Whether you are pulling pints or delivering a pizza, this new law will ensure that staff receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work – and it means customers can be confident their money is going to those who deserve it,” said business and trade minister Kevin Hollinrake.
The Tipping Bill has been on a bumpy ride to be passed, having been first introduced in September 2021, only to be threatened with the bin when it was dropped from the Queen’s Speech in May 2022 under then prime minister Boris Johnson.
Yet in the same breath as announcing the new plans, The Department for Business and Trade acknowledged that “many hospitality workers rely on tips to top up their pay”, seeming to acknowledge that for those earning the national minimum wage or national living wage, that hourly rate isn’t enough to live on.
With more than half of gig economy workers earning less than minimum wage, according to new research led by the University of Bristol, it’s no wonder tips are heavily relied on to get by.
Here’s what you need to know if tips help to top up your income, or if you’re a tipper wanting to know where your money is going.
What is the new law on staff tips?
The law, which is expected to come into force in 2024, will create a code of practice to “provide businesses and staff with advice on how tips should be distributed” the government wrote in a statement.
Workers will also have the right to request more information from their employer on where tips are going, meaning they will be able to bring forward a credible claim to an employment tribunal if the numbers aren’t adding up.
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However, Bryan Simpson at Unite Hospitality warned that employers could still try to flout the rules, and taking a claim to an employment tribunal can be a lengthy process.
“Like all statutory rights, from the Health and Safety at Work Act to national minimum wage, just because it’s the law, doesn’t mean that every employer adheres to it. Every week, we support workers who are denied safe conditions in the workplace or paid less than the minimum wage.”
“So the notion that they will have to pursue a hostile employer for a year to get what they’re owed is of no use to workers whatsoever.”
What it means for tippers
The new law should reassure customers that their tips legally belong to the staff that served them.
“It was never right that a minority of companies could pocket tips when the public wanted them to go to the person who served them or made their food,” said Virginia Crosbie, Conservative MP for Ynys Môn.
“The law will now boost wages for what are often lower paid jobs and not boost company profits at the expense of hard-working staff.”