Press release

Business Secretary orders investigation into tipping

Sajid Javid launches investigation into abuse of tipping.

The Business Secretary has launched an investigation into abuse of tipping, as part of the government’s commitment to making sure everyone is paid fairly.

Delivering fairness for everyone is at the heart of this one nation government’s agenda. Recent media investigations into the practice of some major restaurant chains of withholding a proportion of tips left for staff to cover administrative costs have raised concerns at the very top.

Last week Business Secretary Sajid Javid said that this would be something that the government would take a serious look at and now he has ordered a formal call for evidence on the issue.

The Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

When a diner leaves a tip, they rightly expect it to go to staff. In full. I’m concerned about recent reports, suggesting some restaurants pocket tips for themselves. That’s just not right.

I’ve ordered an immediate investigation to look at the evidence and consider the views of employees, customers and the industry to see how we can deal with the abuse of tipping.

As a one nation government we want a fair deal on pay for working people and that includes taking action on tipping abuse.

The call for evidence will look at how restaurants treat tips left by customers and whether government intervention is necessary to strengthen the voluntary code of practice run by the industry.

The inquiry which will seek information and views from the hospitality industry and other key stakeholders and will consider whether there should be a cap on the proportion of tips restaurants can withhold from staff for administrative costs and, if so, what this level should be.

Research from 2009 found that one in five restaurants did not pass tips to their staff, yet the vast majority of customers said they wanted waiting staff to receive tips left for them. More than three quarters wanted to see the restaurant’s tipping policy clearly displayed.

While there is a voluntary code of practice which is overseen by industry body the British Hospitality Association, restaurants may currently choose to ignore its 4 principles of transparency and adopt various tipping practices.

Follow what’s happening on social media using #tipping.

Notes to editors

The call for evidence has been launched by BIS today (30 August 2015) and the Citizen Space e-consultation site. It will run until 10 November 2015 and those interested can contribute using any of the following options: