UK government launches major study into tipping practices at restaurants and bars

The UK government yesterday launched a major study into tipping practices in restaurants and bars.

The move follows concerns by customers as to who pocketed the tips at the end of a meal, with more than 80 per cent wanting to see their tips go directly to workers or distributed fairly among staff.

The government's Department for Business announced new plans for ending unfair tipping practices and increasing transparency for consumers and employees. Proposals to the effect were announced yesterday by business secretary Sajid Javid.

The government has also launched a consultation on its proposals to secure a fairer deal for workers.

A consultation paper considers the evidence received from consumer, worker and employer groups, and outlines the government's proposals for the handling of tips and service charges. It also looks at replacing the current voluntary code of practice and giving it a statutory validity to increase employer compliance.

It also aimed to increase transparency for consumers to make it clearer that suggested payments for service were discretionary and that consumers were free to choose.

Business secretary Sajid Javid said, "As a one nation Government we want workers who earn a tip to be able to keep it. That's why I, like many others, was disappointed by the tipping practices of some of our well-known chains. This has to change.

"I'm setting out our proposals to make tipping fairer, clamping down on unfair practices and securing a better deal for the millions of workers in the service industry. We will look closely at all the options, including legislation if necessary."

There was broad agreement that workers or consumers were not clear about current practices and these needed to change to better understand how tips are distributed.

The Unite union's officer for the hospitality sector, Dave Turnbull, described the reports as "fantastic news".

"It is a massive victory for all those waiting staff who have worked tirelessly to expose sharp practices in the hospitality industry. All they want is what any worker wants - to take home what they have earned, no corners cut,'' reported.