Boris Johnson shelves plan ensure restaurant workers can keep tips

The government has shelved plans to bring in legislation that would ensure restaurant and other hospitality workers get to keep the tips they are given.

The bill, which was endorsed by the government as recently as September, will not be included in the Queen’s Speech, according to insiders cited by the Financial Times.

In September business minister Paul Scully said it would become “illegal” to withhold tips and a new law would “ensure tips will go to those who worked for it”.

He said the legislation was necessary because of the move towards tipping on cards saw employers exert more control over tips that were taken.

The idea had first been proposed by Sajid Javid when he was business secretary in 2016 and was due to eventually become law.

“Every year this government promises action to ensure fair tipping, and then does precisely nothing to deliver on that promise,” Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham told the newspaper.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said it would “betray some of the lowest paid and most vulnerable workers in Britain” to ditch the plan, adding: “They will have conned working people.”

Under existing rules tips cannot be counted towards minimum wage laws, but some employers withhold a share of them.

But the situation is complicated as in other cases tips are redistributed between front of house and back of house staff to ensure non-customer-facing workers also get a share.

A spokesperson for the business department would not confirm or deny that the bill had been dropped, but encouraged restaurants to adopt “industry best practice”.

“Workers should absolutely get the tips they deserve, and customers should have reassurance that their money is rewarding staff for their hard work and good service,” the spokesperson said.

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