Fair Tips For Waiting Staff

Unite's fair tips campaign delivered a second important victory when the government finally announced that it will introduce new legislation to ban employers taking tips from staff. That was in October last year - it's still not law.

Take action. Email your MP (use the form below) to ask that they keep up the pressure and back hospitality workers in their fight for #FairTips. Take a stand - there's a lot diners and guests can do to help. Know your facts and don’t be afraid to questions about restaurant’s tipping policy. The staff will thank you.


Unite has campaigned long and hard to expose rip off tip scams in the UK hospitality industry. In 2015 we lifted the lid on High Street chains taking a cut from credit card tips, forcing a number of chains to drop the practice of adding admin fees of up to 15%. Our campaign sparked a huge media and public backlash, which revealed even more sharp practices in the industry. It also prompted the government to act, first setting up an investigation and then consultation with unions, employers and the public.

Last October, on the first day of the Conservative party, the government promised to introduce new legislation to stop tipping abuses and give staff 100% of their tips. But we’re still waiting.
Before that we had our first major victory when, after years of campaigning, the then Labour government introduced legislation to stop employers using tips to top up wages to the legal minimum wage.
Unite will keep on campaigning until we get #FairTips.

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.




  • 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 - Do you know of a restaurant keeping staff tips? Tell us about it.

  • Work in the hospitality sector? Then we want to hear from you. Get in touch use the form. Get organised with Unite on your side.

  • Follow Unite Hospitality 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.

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.

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.


Tell the government to deliver on its #FairTips promise to restaurant workers

Contact Your Representative

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Fair tips

It's time for the government to deliver on its promise to introduce new legislation to ban restaurant bosses taking staff tips. #FairTips


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