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. This Sinn Féin legislation enshrines in law a worker’s right to access their tips earned while working for an employer.
This 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.
All this is aimed at helping those workers on a low wage or who have precarious or irregular employment to keep all of what they are entitled to. Customers do not hand over tips lightly and those same tips should not be deducted or withheld for no reason.
The Bill has received cross-party support and Sinn Féin is pushing for the Bill to be completed through both Houses of the Oireachtas before the busy summer season. To do this we need the support of all parties. There has been a great consensus already from trades unions and from many responsible employers themselves.
Many people are actually surprised to hear that workers do not, in fact, have a legal right to their tips. The public would also be shocked to hear that research produced in 2017 highlights that one-third of all tips are stolen by employers on a regular basis.
I know many good employers in the hospitality industry and they have nothing to fear from this Bill. There’s no downside to this for anyone, unless you happen to be a bad employer who dips their hand in the tip jar!