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Government Tips Bill must end scandal of bosses pocketing service charges - Senator Paul Gavan

27 June, 2022 - by Paul Gavan

Senator Paul Gavan will be bringing a series of amendments to the Payment of Wages (Tips & Gratuities) Bill in the Seanad this week to ensure that both tips and mandatory service charges are included as belonging to employees.

Senator Gavan has welcomed movement on this issue following a massive trade union campaign in support of his original Tips Bill in the last Oireachtas. 

Like the original Sinn Féin Bill, this Bill will require restaurants and hotels to set out in public notices their policy of distribution of tips to employees, and also ensure that all electronic tip payments are passed on to employees. 

But the Bill falls short as it fails to include cash tips as legally belonging to employees, and allows employers to include and pocket mandatory service charges.

Speaking ahead of Committee Stage, Senator Gavan said:

“We have to ensure this Tips Bill is truly effective for workers across the hospitality sector. It can’t be just window dressing. 

“I will be urging the Tánaiste to strengthen the Bill by including cash tips, increasing fines to bosses who try to break this new law, and not allowing employers to levy a charge on employees for payment of these tips.

“The government Tips Bill, as currently written, allows bosses to continue to slap mandatory service charges onto bills and to keep 100% of those charges if they want to, rather than pass them on to the employees who actually provide the service to customers. 

“This is grossly unfair, especially as most customers assume that these charges go to employees.

“What is really galling is that, historically, service charges were introduced in Dublin in order to supplement the pay of unionised staff in hotels. They only came about after a prolonged strike by staff across the hotel sector in 1951. 

“The amendments being proposed by Sinn Féin would ensure that these charges return to the ownership of employees as originally intended.”

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