Government scraps plan to let workers keep their tips

The TUC has said that the move will "betray some of the lowest paid and most vulnerable workers in Britain."

6 May 2022| News

Ministers are abandoning plans to ensure that workers keep their tips, after promising to do so six years ago, in a move that has outraged trade unions.

According to insiders cited by the Financial Times, an Employment Bill, which the Government previously promised, will not be included in the Queen’s Speech.

In September, business minister Paul Scully said that the Government would take steps to make it “illegal” for companies to withhold tips from their employees and that legislation included in the Bill would have ensured “tips will go to those who worked for it.”

The proposal was created to prevent restaurants from taking a cut of tips rather than passing them on to employees. In a statement last year, the Department for Business said that the new legislation would help about two million people working in the hospitality industry.

The idea had first been proposed by Sajid Javid when he was Business Secretary in 2016 and was due to become law.

Some restaurants split tip money between supervisors and kitchen personnel. However, unions claim that a growing number of businesses are adding a discretionary service charge to consumers’ bills and retaining all or part of the fee without passing it on to employees.

Other policies in the proposed Bill would have included more predictable contracts, protection for pregnant employees, a single agency to enforce worker rights and making flexible working a default option for workers.

Unions responded to the news in the Financial Times to voice their frustration. 

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: 

“If the government fails to bring forward an employment bill at next week’s Queen’s Speech it will betray some of the lowest paid and most vulnerable workers in Britain.” 

They will have conned working people.”

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said:

“Every year this government promises action to ensure fair tipping, and then does precisely nothing to deliver on that promise.”