Fair Tips For Waiting Staff
'Tips should go to workers, not employers.'
After 826 days the government has finally made a decision on tips and said it will introduce legislation to ban employers taking tips from staff, but the devil will be in the detail. Keep up the pressure, back hospitality workers in their fight for #FairTips.
Background: Why we are (still) waiting?
Even with the latest announcement, while the government still sits on its hands, rogue bosses are finding new loop holes to exploit. Please beware of the service charge automatically added to your bill. It's not a tip. In some restaurants workers won't see a penny of it. FYI, you don't have to pay it. Ask for it to be taken off and tip in cash instead. Because a cash tip is more likely to go to the people that deserve it, the low paid waiters and kitchen staff who have helped make your meal special - and not be gobbled up by greedy bosses.
Unite has been exposing rip-off tipping practices in the hospitality industry since 2008. In May 2015 we turned the heat up on Pizza Express over the 8 per cent so-called 'admin fee' it was taking from staff tips paid on a card. We won at Pizza Express! Our summer of campaigning sparked a media blitz. The huge public backlash forced many more restaurant chains to abandon their unfair tipping policies - it even prompted the government to act with the launch of its consultation. But here we over two years later and rip off tip scams are still making headlines.
What you can do to help
You see the problem is that tips paid on a credit card and service charges are the property of the employer. As they own them they can do what they like with them. So until staff are given 100% ownership rights over their hard earned tips with complete control over how they are shared out, rogue employers will continue to cream off staff tips.
- Please tip in cash - leaving cash means the whole amount will go to the staff (divided between waiters and kitchen staff).
- Confused by the service charge? Then ask for this to be removed & leave cash instead
- Share your story - Fed up of your employer taking a slice of your hard-earned tips? Tell us about it.
- Work in the hospitality sector? Then we want to hear from you. Contact us. Get organised with Unite on your side
- Follow Unite's hospitality branch on Facebook and Twitter using #FairTips
- Not in a union? Then join Unite - Your union. Your voice
- Confused by tipping? Read our Fair Tips Guide - download below
Beware of the scams!
Employers hold onto staff tips in all kinds of ways, often without customers knowledge including:
1. Charging a fee - employers taking a cut from customer tips paid on a credit or debit card as an administration fee. Typically between 8%-15%.
2. Charging waiters to work - deducting a percentage of between 2%-3% from waiting staff table sales. If staff don't make enough money in tips to cover the levy, then it comes out of their wages.
3. Employers pocketing entire or hefty chunk of the 'optional' service charge that increasing numbers of restaurants are automatically adding to customer bills, instead of giving it to staff. Typically between 10%-15%.
4. Using tips and service charge payments to cover the cost of breakages, till shortages, customers doing a runner, paying credit card transaction fees or quite simply to boost their own profits. They could even be used to boost senior managers' wages.
5. Bogus tronc schemes - a properly run tronc scheme - a pooling system used by employers to distribute non-cash tips to employees -should be genuinely independent, free from employer interference and involve staff. But many aren't - too often staff get no say in how non-cash tips and service charge are shared out or who gets a share.