Call for government action over restaurant and bar tips - 27th July 2018

At SW&A we pride ourselves on going the extra mile for clients – and outside the office our team believes in rewarding excellent customer service when they receive it.

What does concern us, however, is the thought that the person who has made our restaurant or bar visit particularly pleasurable doesn’t automatically keep the tip.

Back in 2009, a voluntary code of practice was introduced in a bid to increase transparency regarding tips, gratuities, cover and service charges.

Seven years later, following a consultation that studied companies taking a cut or ‘handling charge’ of tips given to staff, the Government announced proposals to prevent or limit any employer deduction from discretionary payments for service, except for those required under tax law.

Recommendations included “updating the voluntary code of practice and putting it on a statutory footing to increase employer compliance”.

However, some chains still take a cut of staff tips, which is why campaigners are calling for the Government to act on its earlier consultation.

Labour MP Stephanie Peacock told The Independent, whose Freedom of Information request revealed that ministers had not yet produced a draft copy of the response, that “workers and customers alike are being ripped off by rogue bosses.”

The British Beer & Pub Association has said it is keen to work with the Government to ensure that the policy is fair and works in practice while UKHospitality has said it will continue to guide members to “ensure that hard-working staff receive the tips they deserve”.

As experienced licensed trade accountants, SW&A appreciates the importance of keeping staff morale in the sector as high as possible and legislation on tipping would certainly help establishments recruit – and retain – hard-working and dedicated team members.

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