Labour Backs Bill Ensuring Employees Rights to Customer Tips

20 February 2019

Senator Ged Nash, alongside Labour colleagues, have backed a Seanad proposed Bill, ensuring employees are given the right to receive customer provided tips.

Currently, workers have no express legal right to take home the tips intended for them. The National Minimum Wage (Protection of Employee Tips) Bill 2017 which passed Committee Stage in the Seanad tonight aims to address this gap in the law.

Labour’s Employment Affairs & Social Protection Spokesperson, Senator Ged Nash said:

“I have worked closely with Senator Paul Gavan from Sinn Fein and trade unions representing workers in bars, hotels and restaurants on this Bill.

“The changes contained in this simple piece of legislation will, if successfully enacted, put into law the rights of employees to their own hard-earned customer tips and gratuities.”

“Research carried out in Galway has revealed that one in three hospitality workers do not receive the tips they earn. In some cases, the tip jar is raided by the owner of a restaurant and out straight into the till. When employees complain, there is no legal recourse and they often find that their hours get reduced or they are simply shown the door.

“Most bar and restaurant owners and managers play fair when it comes to distributing the tips to staff. It is only the bad bosses who have anything to fear from these new proposals.”

Senator Nash explained that consumers have a right to know who actually benefits from the tips they hand over.

“The proposed new law would also require restaurants, bars and hotels to publicly display their tips policy, making it clear to the customer who exactly will receive payment. It is important that customers are aware of the tips policy in restaurants and bars. “

Senator Nash concluded:

“Low paid, precarious workers in the hospitality sector rely heavily on tips to subsidise their very low wages. I have come across too many cases where tips are used to supplement turnover and inflate profit, rather than go into the pockets of staff.

“These tips support families, contribute towards college expenses or help to pay towards other cost of living expenses such as childcare and insurance. Labour fully supports this Bill which will help protect low paid workers in the hospitality sector who do not currently have the legal right to those tips which they earn and we look forward to facilitating its passage to the next stage.”

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