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UK govt delays tipping law

The introduction of a new tipping law in the UK has been pushed back by three months to 1 October 2024, a move that has been slammed by trade union Unite.

UK bar
The tipping law could benefit more than two million workers across the hospitality, leisure and services sectors

In July 2022, the UK government revealed it would back the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill to ensure hospitality workers receive their tips by making it illegal for employers to retain service charges. The legislation had already been delayed by five years.

The new measures on tipping are expected to come into force on 1 October, once parliamentary approval has been secured. It was originally set to be implemented on 1 July.

While the move to push it back by three months was welcomed by trade body UKHospitality, Unite said the ‘unnecessary’ setback was the latest in years of delays.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Employers stealing the tips of hospitality workers is a disgrace and should obviously be stopped. Even this government knows that – which is why they keep promising to fix it. But this latest delay following a long line of broken promises from Westminster shows that they don’t really care.

“The truth is that workers in this sector can’t just wait for politicians to help them – they need to join other Unite hospitality workers, organising at work to ensure they receive all their tips and win better jobs, pay and conditions.”

UKHospitality’s chief executive Kate Nicholls said the delay was a “necessary step”.

She explained: “The revised timeframe will now allow businesses to implement any changes required and is evidence of government acting on feedback from UKHospitality.”

Nicholls noted it was important to provide a “fair and transparent tipping system”.

“We’ve been pleased to support this legislation through its journey and it’s good to see that the government has worked with UKHospitality to deliver guidance and a code of practice that can work for business,” she said. “With the variety of businesses in hospitality, anything too prescriptive would not have been practical.”

However, she expressed her disappointment that the government had failed to provide “greater clarification” on whether agency workers would receive tips, calling it a “particular sticking point for businesses”.

She added: “Given the desire from all parties involved to get this legislation right, we would urge government to work with UKHospitality on providing greater clarity on this issue before the legislation comes into force in the autumn.”

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