Queen’s speech reveals new law that says restaurants must hand over all tips to staff

Restaurants that don’t share tips have faced criticism

First Published in www.squaremeal.co.uk Updated on 15 October 2019

Written By Eamonn Crowe

Queen’s speech reveals new law that says restaurants must hand over all tips to staff

The Queen has confirmed a new bill that will force employers to hand over all tips to staff, in a ruling that will benefit up to one million hospitality workers across the UK.

Although much of the Queen’s speech focused on the pressing issue of Brexit, the monarch also revealed the new rule around tipping, saying: “My government will take steps to make work fairer, introducing measures that will support those working hard.”

Christened The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill, the legislation declares that owners of hotels, restaurants and bars, must ensure that all tips, gratuities and service charges are passed onto workers in full, as well as making sure the extra cash is distributed fairly. The bill also stipulates that businesses have to be transparent with customers regarding how their tips are divided up between staff.

The plan was first announced by the government in 2018, but the Queen’s speech did not confirm a specific date that the ruling would be put in place.

Currently, UK businesses are not legally required to hand over tips to staff, as there is no official code of conduct regarding the matter. In recent years, several large restaurant groups and high street chains have faced criticism for not sharing tips with staff, or for being vague when addressed about the topic.

Initially, several restaurants responded to the criticism saying that holding back of tips, particularly when paid via card, is necessary to cover administrative costs. Since then, some restaurant brands have overturned their tipping policies, but Casual Dining Group (who operate high-street favourites such as Bella Italia and Café Rouge) still take a 2.5% cut of worker’s tips.

Currently, the UK tipping culture can be confusing. In the US, tips of around 20% are considered standard practice, while on these shores, tipping is not considered compulsory. However, if you are satisfied with your service, it is thought good nature to leave a tip of around 12.5%. Several UK restaurants now include a discretionary service charge with the bill, but diners can choose not to pay this if they are unhappy with their experience.