UKHospitality has warned that any new statutory legislation regarding tipping is an unnecessary burden. This comes after new plans, to be announced by Theresa May on Monday, restaurants will be legally banned from keeping tips from staff.

The trade body has also highlighted voluntary measures already undertaken by UKHospitality and the wider sector to ensure fair practice.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “UKHospitality and Unite have developed an industry Code of Practice which deals with the fair distribution of tips among all staff, not just waiters. As a result, best practice has been widely promoted across the sector. At a time when costs are mounting for operators in the sector, the Government must be careful about introducing additional legislation. There is no evidence that further legislation, which may have unforeseen consequences for staff, is necessary at this time.”

The move, which comes three years after a government consultation found restaurant customers overwhelmingly supported tips going to waiting staff, rather than proprietors, follows a public outcry over the practice by some restaurants of skimming off a share of tips.

The decision to back the ban follows a string of revelations about companies deducting money from serving staff, typically from card payments. An investigation found that popular chains had briefly levied an 8% deduction on tips paid by card but abandoned the practice in 2015 after a campaign. However, after adverse publicity these have usually been abandoned.

Mrs May said the “tough” legislation, which would apply in England, Scotland and Wales, was part of the government’s push to end exploitative employment practices.

“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 their tips – banning employers from making any deductions.”

Photo by Sam Truong Dan on Unsplash