New rules allowing restaurant staff to keep tips could come into effect despite jobs bill scrapped

Ministers are still determined to help staff retain more tips despite the plan being postponed yet again (Alamy)

Alain Tolhurst

4 minute read

The government is set to force restaurants to tip staff despite legislation that would underpin its removal.

PoliticsHome understands that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is moving forward with proposals to stop hotel bosses from withholding employee tips, which could be worth between 200 million pounds and a million workers.

The government’s flagship Jobs Bill was dropped for the second time in the Queen’s Speech setting out the government’s legislative program for the next 12 months.

Last year, PoliticsHome reported that ministers had agreed to enshrine in law plans devised by a Tory MP to stop restaurants withholding tips from waiters, after promising to do so since 2016.

After a campaign by Dean Russell, the Tory MP for Watford, to pass legislation protecting money left behind by customers, Small Business Minister Paul Scully wrote to him in September confirming that the measures will be included in an upcoming draft employment law.

The broader legislation was also expected to introduce a new right for all workers to demand a more predictable contract, extend dismissal protections to prevent pregnancy and maternity, and make flexible working the default.

But despite first being outlined in the 2019 Queen’s Speech and promised by ministers 20 times since then, concrete plans have failed to materialise.

After also missing the Queen’s Speech this week, the government has been accused of an “act of treason” and “cheating the workers” by the Trades Union Congress.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said new rights promised to workers “are at risk of being abandoned for good”, and “bad bosses will be partying”.

However, it is understood that BEIS is still determined to find a way to change the rules around tipping, after a number of high profile incidents where high street chains changed the way tips are awarded to staff, giving more money to the steering and sagging. the salaries of kitchen staff at the expense of those who work in front of the house.

The department said the changes to the regulations would benefit hospitality staff by £200million and prevent the return of new unfair tipping practices in the future, but it is still unclear what the exact details of the changes are. rules or when they will come into force.

Separately, PoliticsHome understands that the government has indicated that if a backbench MP introduces tipping legislation as a private member’s bill, they would give it time to pass through Parliament and become law. .

Scully appeared to confirm this after Russell questioned him in the Commons on Thursday about what was going on with his bill.

The member asked the Minister if: “He will continue to support me so that the [Tips] Does the bill pass through Parliament? »

Scully praised his Tory colleague’s campaign and said: ‘I reaffirm our commitment to continue the continued work of my honorable friend in this area.

A government spokesman defended the absence of a jobs bill from this year’s agenda.

“Our ambitious legislative program will allow us to meet priorities such as growing the economy, which will in turn help to meet the rising cost of living and put people in good jobs,” they said. they stated.

“We have a strong track record of supporting workers across the UK and protecting and strengthening their rights, including helping more people find work so there are now more employees on the job. the payroll than ever before, raising the national living wage to its highest rate yet and cracking down on enforcement of the minimum wage, which is one of the highest in the world.

The Prime Minister has also asked Tory MP Matt Warman to lead a review of the future of work and how the government can ‘best support a thriving future UK labor market’.

The former minister’s work will build on existing government commitments, including those made in response to the Taylor review, which made a host of recommendations on how to improve modern working practices in July 2017 .

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