Friday 18 October 2019

Minister vows to ban employers from using customers' tips as part of wages

Employers will also be required to display their policy on tips, gratuities and service charges in their premises. (stock photo)
Employers will also be required to display their policy on tips, gratuities and service charges in their premises. (stock photo)

Anne-Marie Walsh

New rules to stop employers using tips to make up wages are to be rolled out.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty has promised measures to ensure greater fairness for workers and transparency for customers.

Employers will also be required to display their policy on tips, gratuities and service charges in their premises.

The move comes despite the Low Pay Commission finding there was insufficient data to prove the issue of employers withholding tips was a significant problem in Ireland.

It follows a high profile dispute at the upmarket Ivy Restaurant in Dublin last year after it accused waiters of deplorable greed during a dispute over tips.

Waiters were banned from taking payments after management claimed staff were asking customers to leave tips in cash rather than by card.

They were accused of failing to share the tips with other workers.

Protests were held outside the restaurant and some staff claimed that tips were being used to supplement wages.

However, the Ivy insisted that tips were shared by all staff and paid in addition to wages.

Ms Doherty said she would amend the Payment of Wages Act so tips cannot be used to "make up or satisfy payment of contractual rates of pay".

In a statement, her department said it was getting legal advice on the draft heads of a bill and a memo would be brought to Cabinet in the coming weeks.

"When a customer provides a tip after satisfactory service, they should know exactly where that money goes," said the minister.

The department said the Low Pay Commission had advised the Government strongly against introducing heavy regulation or primary legislation on the issue.

However, it claimed the approach taken would protect workers without falling foul of its warnings.

Irish Independent

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