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New laws to ensure waiting staff keep all their tips

1 October 2018

New laws to ensure waiting staff keep all their tipsRestaurants will be barred from keeping tips from staff under new legislation unveiled by prime minister Theresa May.

A Government announcement said: "New legislation, to be introduced at the earliest opportunity, will set out that tips must go to the workers providing the service."

There has been widespread criticism of the practice by some restaurants of keeping a share of tips left to staff by customers.

The Government said: "While most employers act in good faith, in some sectors evidence points towards poor tipping practices, including excessive deductions being made from tips left by customers.

"This legislation will ensure workers get the tips they deserve and give consumers reassurance that the money they leave in good faith to reward good service is going to the staff, as they intended - ensuring that hard work is rewarded."

Several restaurant chains, including Belgo, Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, Giraffe, Prezzo, Strada, Zizzi and Ask, have taken a share of the tips from their staff although many of them have stopped this practice after a public outcry.

Two years ago, a Government consultation found that restaurant customers overwhelmingly supported tips going to waiting staff, rather than business owners. Business secretary Sajid Javid said at the time that tips should go in full to waiting staff. However, he stopped short of changing the law.

However, issues around tips for waiting staff have continued to cause problems. Staff at TGI Friday's went on strike earlier this year after the restaurant chain started to redistribute customer tips among kitchen employees as well as waiting staff.

Now, Theresa May is promising that "tough" new legislation in England, Scotland and Wales will allow workers to keep all their tips.

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