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Workers in the hospitality sector deserve to keep their tips - Gavan

22 January, 2018 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator, Paul Gavan, will seek support this week for a Bill which will would give workers in the hospitality sector a legal right to keep their tips.

The Protection of Employee Tips Bill would make it illegal for an employer to withhold, deduct, or demand the return of a tip from an employee without a lawful excuse.

The Bill would also require employers to display their tipping policy either on their menu or in another suitable manner so that customers have transparency with regard to whom and how their tip is distributed.

Speaking ahead of the Bill being debated on Wednesday evening in the Seanad, Senator Gavan said:

“This is a simple Bill which would give protection to employees who work in a sector dominated by low pay and precarious work.

"The Bill makes it illegal for an employer to withhold or deduct tips from an employee unless the employer has a lawful excuse.

"The hospitality sector is a crucial part of our economy here and employs 150,000 people across the state. This Bill will make a real difference to a great many people and give them some badly needed protection with regard to a vital part of their earnings.

"Good employers have nothing to fear from this Bill, as they will already be passing on their tips to their employees. 

"The Bill will also do nothing to change current tax revenue rules, so there’s no downside to this, unless you happen to be a bad employer.

"There have been numerous surveys and testimonies highlighting that workers are often denied the right to take home tips they have earned.

"One such piece of research carried out by Sinn Féin in Galway in 2017 found that 34% of the 400 respondents had experienced the regular withholding of tips by their employer. That is unacceptable.

“The British government has also recently published a report which found serious issues regarding the withholding of tips and mismanagement of shared tipping  schemes. That review is now looking at potential legislative changes.

"The bill which we are putting forward is modeled on a Canadian bill which was introduced last year in Ontario to deal with the very same issue. This would appear to be a universal problem and Ireland is no different.

"We are asking for cross party support in the Seanad next Wednesday and I sincerely hope that we do not see party politics at play. Workers in the hospitality sector work hard for their tips and workers should be protected by the law."

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