Restaurants and other businesses in the East Midlands could soon have to hand over all tips to staff under new proposals being tabled in Parliament.
A number of prime ministers have pledged to stop employers making deductions from money left for their staff by customers, but legislative action has failed to materialise.
But now a new Tips Bill has been brought forward by Conservative MP Dean Russell in a bid to make progress on the issue and put protections in law.
The new Bill would stop employers retaining tips intended for staff and also enable arrangements to be made about how tips are divided between staff.
Watford MP Russell said: “Businesses can’t assume they have got a right to decide what that tip is for.”
Mr Russell’s Bill will be debated in the Commons on September 10.
He added: “When we look at the role that many people have when working in bars or restaurants and so on, the tips are often seen as part of the salary in a way – rightly or wrongly.
“It’s always felt wrong to me that businesses can take the tips that have been given by the customer directly to that individual or to the staff for businesses to go ‘Well, actually, that’s part of the payment for what they’re getting’
“So, really, the idea of the Tips Bill was thinking, surely there must be some rule or regulation or law that means that, if someone is given a tip, they either can keep that tip and not hand it to the business, or there’s an agreement on how that tip is shared out – so if there’s a pool of tips, surely there must be an agreement in place that isn’t based on informality.’
Mr Russell added that the Bill aims to ensure ‘fairness’,
“‘I think for most people, when they do leave a tip for someone, they’ve left it for that person or for the staff, not for businesses to take an extra chunk of it,” he said.