SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has called for legislation to be introduced in Northern Ireland to ensure that all tips received by hospitality workers are paid directly to them.
Ms Hanna was speaking after the UK Government recently agreed to back the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill which will force employers to ensure all tips, gratuities and service charges are given to workers without any deductions.
She has written to Economy Minister Gordon Lyons asking for similar measures to be put in place in Northern Ireland, with the Bill set to become law in England, Scotland and Wales.
South Belfast MP Claire Hanna said:
“Given the dispute that has surrounded the paying of tips to hospitality staff for some years I think this legislation provides an opportunity to put this issue to bed once and for all by ensuring that staff receive all the tips that are intended for them and legally stops businesses keeping money that has been earned by staff for themselves.
“Tips are given as recognition of good service and a job well done, they are intended to reward staff who try to improve a customer's experience and ensure they have a good time. Given the effort our hospitality staff put into every shift, and the low pay many of them receive, it’s wrong that some business owners are able to keep these tips for themselves and this legislation would put an end to that practice.
“At a time when so many people in our society are struggling to make ends meet due to the cost of living crisis we need to ensure that staff are getting every penny they’re owed. Many hospitality businesses are struggling to recruit staff at the minute and the increase in wages provided by these tips might also ease that burden. I see no reason that we should not extend this legislation to Northern Ireland and have written to Minister Lyons expressing that view, I hope he takes swift action to protect staff in Northern Ireland and ensure that every staff member receives all the money they are owed.”