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Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill

Volume 726: debated on Friday 20 January 2023

Bill, not amended in the Public Bill Committee, considered.

Third Reading

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Third time.

I am glad that we have time to debate this important Bill. It has a simple message: to promote fairness and transparency to ensure that workers receive the tips that they earn. It will create a level playing field for businesses that are already passing on tips to workers fairly and transparently. It will create confidence for consumers, who will know that the full value of the tips that they give will go to the workers. I thank the Minister and the Government for supporting the Bill and I am delighted that it has Government and cross-party support on Third Reading.

I also thank the hon. Member for Watford (Dean Russell) for his work on the Bill; he has been instrumental in bringing this important legislation to the fore. The Bill would not be where it is today without his determination and hard work. When he asked whether I would take the Bill over from him, I was honoured. I have experienced first hand the importance of tips and, like many young people, I financed my sixth form and university studies by working in cafés and pubs.

My constituency is dependent on the hospitality and tourism sector, which is also one of the largest sectors in Wales. At a particularly difficult time, this is an opportunity to help and support those who work in the tourism and hospitality sector, which has one of the lowest hourly rates of pay. It is estimated that the Bill will benefit about 1 million workers in the sector with a financial benefit of about £200 a year. With the cost of living at the front of many people’s minds, the Bill will help those workers who are wrongly not receiving the money that they are due from the tips that they have earned. In sectors such as hospitality and beauty services, customers recognise and reward good service and hard work through tips, gratuities and service charges, which I will refer to collectively as tips.

The customer expects 100% of the tips that they leave to go to the workers. We already know that that is happening in most businesses, where tips are passed on to staff in full, but some unscrupulous employers exploit staff by retaining some or even all of the tips that workers earn. That goes against the assumption of the large majority of customers that 100% of the tips that they give will end up in the pockets of the workers.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right: customers expect 100% of tips to go to staff. Does she agree that people who work in hospitality will also make the assumption that any tips they get will be theirs, and that their wage, which may not be very high, will at least be supplemented by what they earn for their service?

My hon. Friend makes a very good point. People—particularly young people—who are looking for employment in the hospitality sector will look at it as a whole package when considering what it means for them and whether they will be able to earn enough. Tips are a vital part of their calculation when they are looking at taking such roles.

Workers expect the tips that have been given in recognition of their hard work and good customer service to be given to them in full. The Bill promotes fairness for workers by creating a legal obligation to pass on tips to workers, in full, with no deductions other than in very limited circumstances such as those required under law. It will provide protection across all sectors, but focuses on changing employment law to bring increased protection for workers in industries in which tipping is common. An additional benefit of this legislation is the increased confidence that consumers will have that the tips they choose to leave in recognition of good service will actually go to the workers for whom they are intended, and are not unfairly pocketed by bosses.

In determining how to allocate tips fairly, the employer must have regard to the relevant provisions of the upcoming statutory code of practice, which will set out principles of fairness and transparency relating to tips. That code of practice is necessary to describe—in more detail than a Bill can—the different circumstances that are likely to be “fair” and “unfair”. A number of examples will be provided to illustrate what fair tipping practices look like. Those examples are not included in the Bill, as that could limit flexibility for employers. To issue a code of practice, the Secretary of State must consult the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, and publish a draft to allow stakeholders to make representations, before laying the draft before both Houses of Parliament for approval. The code of practice will be statutory and have legal effect, meaning that it can be introduced as evidence to employment tribunals considering whether an employer is in breach of the legislation.

There is one main theme running through the core of the Bill: the creation of a legal obligation on employers to pass on tips in full to workers. Giving workers 100% of tips means that there can be no deductions from tips by an employer other than in the limited circumstances required or permitted by other law, including tax law. Prohibited deductions include, but are not limited to, card transaction fees and administration costs. Some employers may use a tronc system to help with distributing tips. Under that system, which is mostly used in the hospitality sector, an employer delegates the collection, allocation and distribution of tips to a person or persons known as “troncmaster” or “tronc operator”. It is important that we retain flexibility for employers to choose how to distribute tips, as long as that distribution is fair.

Transparency is a crucial part of the Bill, and information plays a significant role. However the tips are allocated, the Bill provides workers with a new right to make a written request to access the relevant parts of their employer’s tipping records. That allows workers to seek redress if they are not being treated fairly by gathering evidence and bringing a claim to an employment tribunal where necessary. The Bill will be enforced by workers through the employment tribunal system, and provides employment tribunals with remedies for situations in which an employer has made deductions from tips or has not allocated tips in a fair and transparent way. Workers will be able to present to an employment tribunal complaints about an employer failing to comply with its obligations to allocate tips fairly or failing to do so in time. The Bill also allows agency workers to present complaints. The limitation period for such complaints is 12 months.

Workers’ rights to bring forward such claims are at the core of the Bill because employment rights need to be underpinned by effective enforcement. The tribunal can make a range of orders, including orders requiring the employers to revise any allocation of tips that they have made or to make a payment to a worker of up to £5,000 in compensation for consequential financial loss. That will help those workers who have not been fairly treated when tips have been distributed.

The Bill will have a limited impact on employers who already handle tips fairly and transparently. It is not expected that there will be significant change or cost to business in complying with the new rules. Employers will still have flexibility on how to design their tipping policies, how to maintain records, and how they communicate their policies to workers. In addition, when workers request information, employers will have a period of four weeks to fulfil that request.

I will conclude by giving a final overview of the Bill. It sets out the right that tips should go to the workers who earn them, and that those tips should be distributed both fairly and with transparency.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way as she nears the end of her speech. She has made a very powerful case on behalf of workers who have been missing out on their tips up until now. I am keen for people to know about this Bill—workers, and also people like us who will go into a restaurant or a place to eat or to have a drink and ask, “Will you keep the tips?” Those people need to know for sure that the worker will be able to keep the tip, so a media campaign to support the Bill would be really helpful.

My hon. Friend makes a fantastic suggestion: it is incumbent on all of us and the sector to communicate the existence of the Bill. We have the likes of Kate Nicholls at UKHospitality supporting us, and the support of the unions; so many people are right behind the Bill, supporting those workers who play a vital role in such an important sector, so we will be seeing it communicated. As my hon. Friend the Member for Watford has previously stated, these Friday sittings are very special, and it is important that people know that in this House there has been an opportunity for us to put in place legislation that stands up for the rights of the workers.

As we are all aware, the process of taking a private Member’s Bill through the House is a fragile one, and I am thankful to all Members for working together to make sure that this Bill reaches its final reading in this House before progressing to the Lords. I take this opportunity to thank the Government again for supporting the Bill, especially Ministers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and I am grateful for the support of Members of this House while it has been moving through its stages—Second Reading, Committee, and now finally Third Reading. I firmly believe that the Bill gives us all a great opportunity to bring about real change, which will have an impact on workers who receive tips across all of our constituencies.

I commend the hon. Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie)—I hope I have pronounced her constituency correctly—for her work on this very important issue, which affects hundreds of thousands of young people and many people on low incomes across the country. We appreciate her work, and I also pay tribute to the hon. Member for Watford (Dean Russell) and other Members from across the House, and indeed to the GMB for its excellent work on this issue. It has been campaigning on this matter for many, many years—possibly for 10, 15 or 20 years.

Briefly, I will point out how important this issue is for my own constituents in Reading and Woodley. Any large town has a huge number of pubs, bars and cafes, and the volume of tips is quite considerable. It is very important that people working in those establishments are able to benefit from those tips, and it was fascinating and very important to hear the point made earlier that the average benefit to workers on relatively modest incomes around the country is £200 a year. Given the current cost of living crisis, that is clearly a very valuable contribution to somebody’s income, even if it is spread out over a long period of time. I am aware that some people in hospitality and similar sectors are among those who may have to resort to food banks to support themselves, so I hope the Bill will make a significant difference to those people’s incomes over the coming year.

Finally, I once again thank the hon. Member for Ynys Môn for her work. I can clearly see that in areas with a large hospitality industry, such as coastal or tourist areas, this is a particularly important matter; I would add that it also matters a lot in towns with major shopping centres or university towns, such as Reading. It is important to us as well, and I thank the hon. Member and others from across the House for their work.

I stand here today as a very happy man, but not without a certain trepidation, as I know the fragility of the private Members’ Bills process—even at this stage.

I begin by thanking the current Minister, the Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake), and those who came before me in my short period in the role, for making sure that the Bill is in front of us today and has Government support. I particularly thank my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) for her work. To reuse a phrase slightly incorrectly—but I think it is true in this case—she took the Bill by the horns and made sure that we took it forward in such a way that it got here today. The truth is that, when I was made a Minister and was looking for somebody to take over this private Member’s Bill, I could not think of a better person in the UK, or potentially the world, to get behind it. I know how important hospitality is to her constituents and constituency. The power that she has used to get the Bill to this stage is incredible. As well as being an ambassador for the Bill, she has championed it to an extent that many would not have been able to achieve.

I will speak briefly about the purpose of the Bill and how it came about, because we need to recognise its importance. For many years, many of us have given tips in restaurants and similar, and as we hand over the money, put money in the tip jar or pay on a credit card machine, we often end the conversation by asking: “Are you sure you’re going to get this? Will you and your team get this tip? That has become part of the national conversation whenever giving a tip. There is a lack of surety about whether the tip will reach the people who have been serving or cooking. This Bill will help put an end to that question. We will no longer need to ask it, and members of staff will no longer need to worry whether they will receive the tip.

The birth of this Bill was mentioned in the excellent previous speech. The measure is not something that I came up with; it has been gestating in government and society for many years. Last May, Quentin Letts wrote a typically humorous and well-written piece about how snollygosters in the machine often slow down good Government policy and stop really positive Bills going through, whereas other laws, including those to raise taxes—that is not a dig at anyone—go through much more quickly. This Bill has been in the system for many years. As a result of the private Members’ Bills process, the work of Government and standing on the shoulders of giants, we are showing that when the right thing needs to be done, it does get done eventually.

The Bill’s power lies in the fact that it provides surety. It will result in 100% of the tip going to the workers. The next issue is how it is then divided. After this Bill is enacted and the code of practice becomes law and the tribunal process is introduced, work will be undertaken to provide organisations with a bunch of scenarios that they can refer to in order to ensure that the tips are shared fairly. The word “fairness” is at the heart of the 100%. This is about fairness. This is about the money going to the right people—the people we have given it to—and it is about them knowing that they are getting it and that there is no room for manoeuvre. It is as simple as that—100%—and fairness is absolutely key.

This is not about topping up salaries. The Bill is very clear—this was part of the work in the early stages with the fantastic civil servants—that this is not about saying that organisations can suddenly reduce the minimum wage and use tips to top up people’s salaries. A tip is a gratuity; it is a thank you, an addition. This is not about giving organisations the opportunity to treat is as part of a salary. I totally appreciate that, for many who go into the hospitality sector, the tip is part of what they see as income, but it should never be used to replace a salary or to top it up. It should be a thank you, an addition and a bonus to help those who work in the sector.

I am passionate about this private Member’s Bill, although it was my second attempt at promoting it. In Watford we have some fantastic hospitality organisations. We have new businesses such as The Beech House, along with older establishments such as Tarboush, L’Artista, the Essex Arms, Rhubarb Cafe and many others that I could list, but they all have a common thread. They all rely on people to come and work in those places—to work in hospitality, to wait on tables and to cook—and they also rely on customers knowing that they are going to have a fantastic experience and be grateful enough to want to give a tip at the end.

What I found during the pandemic was fascinating. We noticed that none of the places we went to, in my role as an MP and as someone who lives in Watford, was taking cash; or rather, most places were not. Increasingly, payment was by credit card. Again, the question was: what does that 12.5% service charge actually mean? Does it go to staff, or is it just for businesses to make a bit more money? In most places, most people we spoke to could not really give an answer. What is it actually for? Do we then give a tip on top of the credit card charge, or not? This Bill will make it absolutely clear. If it is a service charge, tip or gratuity, it will go to the staff.

I have heard people ask whether this change will create an extra burden for businesses—the word “burden” has been used a lot this week in debates on legislation affecting business. Actually, it will not be a burden for businesses. Most businesses do the right thing. Most businesses give the tips to their staff, and that is absolutely part of what they do, because many people in hospitality grew up working in the industry, will have had tips in the past and will therefore know how important it is for their staff to keep them. But there are a few businesses—including, sadly, from reports I have read, some large franchises—that do not make sure that their staff get those tips.

The vast majority of good businesses that pass on tips see this as a positive, not an extra burden, because they see that it creates a level playing field. Those businesses will know that other organisations cannot make extra profit out of the back pockets or wallets of the people who work for them. Not only is that utterly wrong, but it changes and games the system towards those engaged in bad practice versus those who do the right thing. Again, that is another important aspect of fairness in this Bill.

I will not talk for too long, even though I would love to talk for hours. There have been many ups and downs—at times I have felt my heart beating and thought, “Are we going to get this through? Is it going to actually happen?” I want to speak for as short a time as possible, to make sure we can hopefully pass the Bill on to the Lords, but I would like finally to make a point about workers’ rights. At the heart of this is workers’ rights and the young people in society, many of whom work in hospitality. But it is also about this place coming together. I always think that Friday debates are perhaps the most powerful, because we are all usually in some form of agreement, and the point-scoring party politics stays out of it. We have seen that with this Bill. As it has passed through this place, we have seen Members coming together, many of whom worked in hospitality when they were younger, have had experience of it, or have businesses in their own patch whose staff receive tips and gratuities.

If we can get the Bill through today—I urge all colleagues and the other place to please support it—it will make a difference to so many people. Not only will it make a difference to the million that have been quoted, to their friends and families, to the industry in its efforts to get more people to want to work or stay in it, and to businesses by ensuring that they are working on a level playing field; it will also show that, while it does sometimes take time to get legislation through this place, while it does sometimes get utterly frustrating and while, as Quentin Letts pointed out, it does sometimes look like the snollygosters might be winning, eventually one does get to the right place.

If we can get this through today, I will be really pleased, but so will society. I say thank you to the Ministers, thank you to the fantastic civil servants and a huge thank you to my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn for the work that she has done.

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Dean Russell), who has been such a pivotal architect of this Bill. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) on taking this Bill on and getting it to this stage, and on being such a powerful advocate for it and for the people who will benefit from it. I also wish to recognise the work of my hon. Friend the Member for Watford, who had originally introduced the Bill to the House; a lot of this work was done previously by him as well, and this really has been a great double act. I was pleased to support the Bill on Second Reading and through its Committee stage.

The Bill supports our Government’s commitment to ensuring fairness for workers by ensuring that tips are fairly distributed. Although many good employers ensure that staff receive their fair share of tips and are open about that sharing, we know that that is not always the case. As I have previously mentioned in the House, many constituents got in touch with me about this, reporting that they had as much as 15% of their tips removed from their pay packet. Often, they simply were not aware of how much was being taken away from their pay packet, because often customers leave a tip on a card. Whether customers leave a tip and how much they leave is determined in large part by the quality of service provided, and we want to be assured that these tips go to the person who provided that service. As has been said, this is not a part of their wage; it is an extra, a thank you, a recognition for the service. Many customers will not give a tip, or they will give a lower tip, if the service they get is not that great. People want to know that whatever they give goes to the person who has given them the service in the first place.

As has been mentioned, many people are concerned about how they go about leaving a tip; they wonder whether they should leave cash. When they have had a great meal or great service, is it better to give the person cash? We all rightly ask, “Will you get this in full?” Many people will just add the tip on to their card payment when the bill comes; this has become commonplace, and indeed I am astounded by how few people now carry cash around in their pockets. Many people are understandably distrustful whether a tip left by card will reach the intended employee in full. Indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Watford noted on Second Reading that there is no guarantee that the person or team they gave it to will receive it. For employees, tips by card are less visible and they are difficult to track or claim.

That is the world we are in and so navigating it and making things work is part of our job. This Bill will put an end to these concerns, by amending the Employment Rights Act 1996 to place a legal obligation on employers to ensure not only that tips, gratuities and service charges are distributed to staff, but that that is done in full, without deductions, when these things are being distributed by the employer or via a tronc system. An interesting point was raised by my hon. Friend when he talked about the system by which these tips are distributed: what does that “12.5% service charge” really mean? Where is it going to go? Perhaps we should put into the minds of the hospitality industry the idea that they should set out whether they are running a tronc system and note, next to where the “12.5% service charge” is specified, “This will be distributed and given directly to the people who have provided the service to you today.”

As has been mentioned, we know that covid was a difficult time for the hospitality businesses, but many of them have bounced back well. Some in my constituency have even flourished. That is often in large part due to members of staff providing great service, combined with the loyalty of their customers. Tips help to show workers that their good service is valued and appreciated, and customers should be able to show this appreciation with confidence. Although we should not need a law that obliges employers to allocate all tips, gratuities and service charges without deductions, sadly it is very clear that we do.

We have not yet spoken in detail about the other areas where the Bill will apply, such as the beauty industry. This is often an overlooked area. We tend to talk about tips and tipping from the point of view of hospitality, restaurants, pubs and bars, but many people who work in nail bars and other venues are left tips. It is great to know that they will keep their tips, too. I encourage the Minister to back up the Bill with sound outreach for media coverage.

I welcome this Bill. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn on moving Third Reading, as the Bill will make a welcome change. I hope and believe it will receive cross-party support.

Like many people, I was surprised to discover that tips are not being passed on. I think our understanding has always been that we pay the money on a restaurant menu for the food, and any additional money we leave is for the service. We have all given particularly generous tips for very good service, and I dare say we may have given a not so good tip, or maybe no tip, for particularly bad service, although never in our constituencies, obviously—there would never be bad service in my constituency, I hasten to add.

It sticks in the craw to think that a person may have worked so hard and received no benefit for that hard work, and that the tip would just be taken by the business owner. There are particular peak periods, such as Christmas, when the amount earned in tips can be a vital boost to a person’s income for that month, and maybe even for that year.

My hon. Friend is surprised that this is an issue. Has he or anyone he knows come across the difficult question of whether to tip by credit card or in cash? If the tip goes on the credit card, it is perhaps less likely to go to the employee. Has he given a great deal of thought to that issue?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention. I was concerned that he was going to ask how much I leave in tips. Obviously, I am a very generous tipper.

I am intrigued by my hon. Friend’s use of the word “generous.” In percentage terms, what does he consider to be a generous tip?

I am even more grateful to my hon. Friend for asking that question. I am probably not quite as generous as they are in the US, where a 25% or 30% tip is now sometimes recommended on the bill. I would always err on the side of giving a good tip, even for average service, and an even better tip for exceptional service.

I have been asked, as I am sure my hon. Friend has, whether the Bill will move us towards the US model of tipping. As I said earlier, it is important to note that this is not about making tips part of the salary. We want workers to have good salaries, and the minimum wage has been increased again. Tips are a top-up. They are an additional gratuity to say “thank you,” rather than being part of the salary. That has come up a few times.

My hon. Friend makes a couple of important points. On his first point about the US, it was a particularly bad practice when employers were using tips to try to meet the minimum wage. We have made great strides in increasing the national living wage in recent years. I think it has now hit £10.40; the Minister can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it is at least £10. That is particularly important. If we went into a restaurant and bought a pizza for £10, and the member of staff said when we paid, “I’m going to take £2 of that £10 for the pizza and keep it for myself,” there would be outrage. There would be outrage about the reverse situation, and it is right that we should feel offended on behalf of staff who are working hard for these tips and not getting them.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mary Robinson) is right: this is not just about hospitality. She made an important point about nail bars, hairdressers and lots of other places that I have many of in my constituency, but I realise that this is, in large part, about hospitality. My constituency has a lot of hospitality venues—pubs, for example. There are only seven MPs who have more pubs in their constituency than I do. I have been trying to get around them all, and I am doing pretty well.

The hospitality industry is vital for the UK economy, and particularly for younger workers, ethnic minority workers and part-time workers. It is a very accessible industry for people to get their foot on the ladder and get some important skills. It is hard work, often involving someone being on their feet all day, in difficult conditions, and dealing with difficult customers. It might involve long hours. It is vital, and it is hard. People get good skills, and they should get all their tips.

It is a small minority of employers who are doing this. Most employers will feel, as we do, that staff should be given the tips for the work they have done. That small minority of employers are shooting themselves in the foot in many ways, because where an employee has a choice between different employers—of course, they do not always—the chances are that they will pick the one that will let them keep their tips. That is a perfectly logical decision to make, and it is probably the decision I would make. As we discussed earlier, just as the customer expects a tip to go to the staff, the staff think, “That wage may not be very high, but I’ll be able to earn more in tips.”

This debate reminds me of two other things that are relevant to the passage of this legislation. The first is unpaid internships. The hope with this Bill was that employers would not wait for it to take effect but would start to change their practices before the statutory code came into effect, because the attention on this issue would make those practices socially unacceptable. I hope that that has happened. This reminds me of unpaid internships, which have unfortunately been rife in the UK. They have also been rife in this place, by the way. One reason why we were slow at first to make progress on getting rid of unpaid internships was that the two groups we often need for campaigns use them a lot: politicians and the media. Both are usually very important for campaigns on issues, and both were using a lot of unpaid internships.

When we look across our professions—media, fashion and many others—we find people working for no money. Their employers would say that they were providing a great opportunity, because people in those positions were getting skills that they would need later in the workplace, but the fact is that someone needs a number of things to let them do an unpaid internship. As internships are concentrated in London, interns usually need to move there and will need accommodation. While they are doing work for their employer, they will need money from somewhere, so they will either be working two jobs—one paid for and one not—or, as has often happened, be from the wealthiest families, who can support their children by supplementing those internships. Those internships then lead to jobs, and those jobs look unrepresentative of the country of a whole because of who gets into them.

Again, it is a small proportion of employers doing those things, but as we have shone a light on the issue with the Bill, making it clear that it is not acceptable for employers to be taking their staff’s tips, we would hope that employers have already started to change their practices. None the less, the Bill is important, and I am glad that it is being brought in.

The second issue that I am reminded of is access to cash, which, as Members have touched on, is currently a big challenge. We have banks closing branches all over the country, we have cashpoints disappearing, and we have an assumption that everybody wants to do everything by card or online. I get quite a number of constituents writing to me—I am sure that we all do—who are really concerned about that. They really like to be able to use cash, they worry that it will disappear and they do not know what they will do about it.

That is relevant to the Bill because we have heard the odd voice in the hospitality industry saying that the Bill is not a good thing because there are cost pressures on the hospitality industry at the moment and that, when people pay on card, the business incurs fees for those transactions, so it is not right to let all of the money go to the staff. Their basic argument is, “They might tip on card. I am paying money for that charge, and you’re saying that I have to give the entire thing to the staff.” I am hugely sympathetic to the hospitality industry in lots of ways, but I am afraid that I am not sympathetic to that particular point. However, it does relate to access to cash.

By the way, we could all do a better job of carrying cash. There is a national issue of how we ensure that people who need cash always have access to it. However, on the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Dean Russell) about whether I need to have cash to ensure that somebody will get their tip, the answer, as a result of the Bill, is no, but, none the less, they might appreciate it.

I am afraid that I really do not agree with places that have become card-only. I accept that it may be simpler for some people to pay by card—particularly younger generations, although I do not want to make an age-related comment because I know of plenty of people in their 70s and 80s who like using contactless—but we could all do a better job of carrying cash so that tips could be paid and received in it.

One way or the other, this is a hugely important Bill. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) as well as my hon. Friend the Member for Watford on the work that he did before on the Bill. Although we are talking about a small minority, we are doing an important thing to ensure that people are rewarded for the effort that they put in.

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (David Johnston), who made many important points. I pay thanks to my hon. Friends the Members for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) and for Watford (Dean Russell) for their Bill relay to get us to this point and for the work that has gone on behind the scenes. I welcome the Bill’s progress through the House.

Along with many others, I am disappointed by reports of companies keeping tips or portions of tips for themselves instead of passing them on to their staff as they should. I am confident that this will be a welcome piece of legislation for the 19% of people in North Devon employed by the hospitality sector.

North Devon is home to fantastic hospitality businesses. Each year, we welcome over 6 million visitors who come to enjoy our beautiful coastline and countryside. We love visitors coming to our area, and take pride in showing off our stunning scenery, beaches and delicious local produce. The hospitality sector is vital to our local economy, bringing in £560 million a year and supporting 11,100 local jobs—in fact, it is difficult to find a business that is not in some way reliant on tourism. The hospitality sector is key in enabling residents of North Devon to benefit financially from our visitors, and subsequently protect our world-class natural environment. Without functioning businesses, from our brilliant Brend Hotels to the Lynmouth Bay Café and the Glorious Oyster in Instow, as well as all the other fantastic hospitality businesses in North Devon that I do not have time to mention today, it would be unfeasible for our communities to continue protecting our natural world. The hospitality sector is working hard to ensure that North Devon remains a world-class destination.

Reliable staffing is key to a successful hospitality business, and the majority of businesses in the hospitality sector support their staff by distributing any tips appropriately. However, median hourly pay in hospitality is the lowest of all sectors in the UK. It is estimated that the average daily value of tips is £29 outside of London for a full-time worker, which adds up to roughly £6,500 a year. That pay is crucial to many, and in popular areas such as mine, it is a welcome addition for people facing higher house prices and rents as a result of North Devon’s popularity as a tourism destination, which is driving our current housing crisis. It is also unfair to other hospitality businesses, especially at a time of rising energy and food costs, that some unscrupulous operators are able to gain a competitive advantage by keeping a portion of tips or service charges for the business, rather than giving them to the staff, as customers clearly intended.

Given the rise of automatically added 12.5% service charges, the Bill brings welcome clarification that tips are for the staff, not the business. Tips are there to thank staff for their top-quality service; it is important that conscientious waiters, bartenders and chefs, and everyone who works to put delicious food and drinks in front of us, are recognised. Customers are quite rightly horrified at reports of businesses taking that money for themselves. The decline of cash has also made it easier for businesses to claim tip money as their own. As more people use cards for the majority of their transactions, tips are tied into the same receipt and have to be processed either at the till, or as part of regular accounts. Unlike with cash, cards take tips away from the staff on the floor and reduce transparency. Even this week, in what I had previously considered a reputable pizza chain near this House, a waiter asked for a cash tip.

As I have already said, hospitality is essential to our economy back home in North Devon, and unfortunately, many hospitality businesses are struggling to find staff. That has significant knock-on effects on the level of service businesses can provide and, ultimately, how much money they can make. Making jobs in hospitality more attractive is vital to my local businesses, and protecting workers’ rights to the tips left by customers will make the sector a more viable option. I welcome the Bill and the reassurance it gives to people working in the hospitality sector, and hope it will encourage more people to enter that vital sector. I once again thank my hon. Friends the Members for Watford and for Ynys Môn, and I am delighted to be supporting this Bill today.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) for tabling the Bill, and my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Dean Russell) for all the tremendous work that was done beforehand. As has been said several times already, this is such an important issue, and it is delightful that my hon. Friend the Member for Watford has been able to put in the time and commitment to get the Bill to the stage it is now at—I hope his heart can stop fluttering soon. Of course, it is always a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for North Devon (Selaine Saxby).

I said in relation to the previous Bill that I did not have much experience, but I have a little bit more experience of this one. My constituency of Sedgefield is 240 square miles, and contains a significant number of pubs, restaurants and hotels. I do not, unfortunately, have a great deal of awareness—apart from the odd visit—of nail bars or what the quality of service is there; I have had some engagement with the teams, maybe, but that is about as far as I have taken it.

It is fair to say that anyone paying a service charge, or giving a tip, as we would normally call it, expects it to go to the staff, but it is important in this discussion to understand who the staff are. In a multinational hotel chain, the owners are clearly distant, but in a lot of pubs and small restaurants the staff may be the owners. There is some differentiation, in that there could be one person in the family who owns it, and maybe he or she should not be getting the tips, but the other could be working behind the bar or serving the food, and clearly the distribution model—however we make it up—must be fair to them as well.

Certainly, a number of pubs either start as or evolve into quasi-restaurants because the owner is the chef. They have put the effort into the kitchen and they are providing the service of food. When we look at what generates a tip, particularly in a food environment, there are two clear dimensions: the quality of the food and the person-to-person service and delivery. It is important that all of that is considered.

One key component of the Bill, assuming that we get it through today and the Lords agree with us, will be the code of practice, which will effectively set out a 12-week consultation—I believe it is 12 weeks, unless things have changed—with the hospitality industry and more broadly to ensure that there are scenarios that are practicable and work in reality for organisations and staff. Those scenarios can be referred to in tribunals, should things get to that point, but, hopefully, they will give many approaches for businesses, even before the Bill becomes law, to say, “This is the right way to do it.” The Bill does not try to offer a one-size-fits-all model; it is about making sure it works, but at its heart is fairness. If the tip is for the people who have served and cooked wonderful food, then fairness within that organisation means ensuring that that tip is shared fairly across them all, and they can refer to the code of practice as part of that.

I thank my hon. Friend for his very valuable clarification of the direction of travel we hope the Bill will proceed in.

The point was made earlier that the Bill is about making sure people are fairly paid. We have seen in the past people trying to incorporate the tips as part of the justification for a minimum wage. That is wholly inappropriate and I think that is one of the drivers for this Bill, which reinforces the position that people can ensure they get the appropriate pay on their payslip for their work, with tips being a separate scenario that can be discussed and followed through.

We must factor in a number of considerations about where organisations have got to. I do not think many sectors of our economy have been harder hit than hospitality over the last few years, first by covid and then by subsequent problems with labour. That puts pressures on business, and unfortunately some businesses take a step to the side of where their morals should be. This Bill will help to give clarity to that space, so it is absolutely clear that the tips belong on one side of the equation and we do not have a situation, as was mentioned earlier, where businesses are competing with each other, but one is taking the tips and putting it into the profit pot—or the cost-covering pot—and the other is doing the right thing and passing those moneys on to where they belong.

To come back to the point about cash-only or contactless-only methods of payment, another benefit of the Bill is that it provides clarity. The method of payment should not influence whether somebody gets a tip. We have all been to organisations—not in my constituency, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (David Johnston) said; it must have been when I was travelling—that say “card payment only” or “cash payment only”. When a customer walks into an organisation where that direction is given, it makes them think that there is an ulterior motive. Does the organisation want cash so that it does not always go through the books? Does the organisation want contactless so that it has control over all the tips? Those are the two extremes, and both thought processes are probably unfounded in most organisations, but it puts doubt into the customer’s mind as to an organisation’s motives. The Bill will hopefully take that uncertainty away from the customer, so they know that the right thing is being done and the whole tips agenda has no impact.

Many typically small organisations are affected by this issue, so the aggregate number of people involved is incredible; I understand that up to 1 million people could benefit from it and the stats imply that they could get about £200 a year each. That is a significant amount but as my hon. Friend said, I like to think that I tip people reasonably, so I would have thought that they would get significantly more than £200 in the year. There could easily be a significant benefit for the people who are providing excellent services in our organisations, so I commend the progress of the Bill.

My hon. Friend also said that he had tried to go to as many pubs and other places in his constituency as he could, as I do. I hope the House will excuse a slight digression on this, but sometimes that has unintended consequences. I do not think that I am a particularly heavy drinker, but when I go out, I have a couple of beers from time to time. Hon. Members may have seen the “Love Your Liver” campaign in the House earlier this week. I called in and I am now going to my GP, because apparently I need to be checked out. When people go out, they should be aware of the impact on their health, because they would not necessarily know—I do not think there is anything wrong with me, but a scan tells me that there could be, so I need to check it out. I apologise for the digression, but it seemed appropriate to put a shout out for the health agenda.

I appreciate the Bill’s intention, because it is about fairness and it takes away the need for concern and gives employees the legal right to go back and check, if necessary. I endorse the earlier point about the potential for publicising it to make sure that staff and employers are aware that there is a now a line in the sand that has a legal footprint behind it, and it is not just best practice. Of course, best practice attracts the best staff who will attract customers.

Anybody who has worked in any organisation—any manufacturing, trading or sales business—knows one thing above all else: the easiest customers are the repeat customers. If a business can repeat its customers, it will be more successful and sustainable. Why do customers come back? As I said, it is because of the quality of the product, typically food or drink in this context, and the quality of the service. If businesses look after their staff, pay them correctly and allow them to keep the tips that they have earned, they will have a more successful business. I commend the Bill to the House.

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Sedgefield (Paul Howell), and I, too, pay tribute to my fellow Welsh Conservative Member of Parliament, my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie), and to my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Dean Russell). As was mentioned during the previous debate, a huge amount of work goes into private Members’ Bills, but I know that both my colleagues are extremely hard-working and intelligent people, so it is no surprise to me that they produced this Bill in a timely fashion and in very good shape.

I grew up in the hospitality industry. My father ran Lake Vyrnwy hotel in Wales, which is only a few miles south of my constituency. Along with my brothers, I used to work for my father in the holidays, and I have just been trying to cast my mind back to the wage that we were paid. I think—and this is a measure of how old I am—that it was 20p an hour, which in those days was actually a very good rate for a teenager.

Just in new money! It was 20p, not 20d.

That is why the hospitality industry is always of huge interest to me, not only in my life in general but, in particular, in my capacity as Member of Parliament for Clwyd South. My hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (David Johnston) said that this was not just about the hospitality industry, and I fully appreciate that, but hospitality is the key sector when we come to consider the Bill.

Clwyd South—like Ynys Môn—is an area full of tourism and hospitality businesses. Indeed, at exactly this time a week ago I was visiting Tyn Dwr Hall hotel, a wedding venue in my constituency just outside Llangollen, and talking to Tracey Owen, who runs the business and whose family own it. One of the points that came up in that discussion—and this, too, has been touched on by other Members today—was the vital importance of bringing young people into the hospitality industry. As I remember from my experience many years ago, hospitality is a wonderful training ground for young people, enabling them to learn a skill and also to learn some discipline in terms of turning up for work on time, doing a job properly and so on. Many hospitality businesses, of which Tyn Dwr Hall is a good example, go out of their way to bring in young people such as sixth-formers to do holiday work and learn a skill.

There are many other such businesses in my constituency, such as Iscoyd Park, another wedding venue; the Sun Trevor, a very popular pub; the Hand Hotel in Chirk, and, also in Chirk, Caffi Wylfa, a social enterprise-run café; The Hand at Llanarmon; The Boat at Erbistock; the Corn Mill in Llangollen; Gales Wine Bar, famously often frequented by a former Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson), when he was the parliamentary candidate for Clwyd South back in 1997; and the Three Eagles, the Chainbridge hotel and the Wild Pheasant, all in Llangollen. There are many more I could mention, and it is probably invidious to pick out some and not speak of all, but those are just a few that spring to mind: they are businesses that I have visited and know well.

When I visited the Wild Pheasant, the staff made that point about recruiting young people into the industry. When Brexit brought changes to the employment market, it offered opportunities to people who might not previously have gone out to work at a young age in quite the way they are now, and also turbocharged those businesses to get out there, bring people in, train them up, and give them a good job. I think that that is an important background to the debate, because, as has been mentioned by many Members, it is the younger people who are often serving in hospitality businesses and are therefore the focus of the Bill.

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage, I was pretty astonished that there are currently no laws directly concerning the distribution of tips as between employers and their workers. Tips and gratuities paid directly to the employer are presently the legal property of the employer, as are all service charges. It is worth repeating that, because it is pretty extraordinary. It makes the Bill all the more important.

Retention of tips is a very complicated issue. Like other hon. Members present, I would not say that there is a particular problem in my constituency, but my elder daughter has been working in hospitality in various places in London, having studied international hospitality management at university, and she says that the problem is rife in restaurants and so on. There is an idea that this is a limited problem, but that is probably not the case, which is another reason why the Bill is so important. The National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2009 included a provision stating that tips could no longer be used to make up the national minimum wage, but they did not address the wider issue of unfair retention and distribution.

I strongly support the purpose of the Bill, which is

“to create a legal obligation on employers across sectors to allocate all tips, gratuities and service charges”

in the way that has been described. Another key point is how tips are distributed: the Bill intends

“to increase fairness for employers who already allocate all tips to workers by ensuring that all employers follow the same rules and by preventing a return to further unfair tipping practices in the future.”

Yes, we can hand tips to employees, but if we do not make distribution among employees fair, we will still not have fully solved the problem. Employers will therefore be required

“to have regard to a statutory code of practice…when complying with their obligation to allocate tips fairly.”

That is vital.

I note two other points from experts in the industry. Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, has said:

“At a time when the hospitality industry is dealing with record vacancy levels, attracting people into work in hospitality businesses is already difficult enough. Taking tips off staff at a time when the cost of living is going up…the potential external economic pressures on our staff need to be considered.”

That is a fundamental point.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the industry body UKHospitality, is known to many Members of this House. She does a fantastic job as an ambassador for the hospitality industry. I pay tribute to her: during the covid pandemic, she did more than perhaps any other representative of the hospitality industry to bring its concerns to the Government, with fruitful results. She has urged the Government to work closely with businesses and employees to make the system work for all as venues face mounting costs:

“For hospitality businesses…customers tipping with a card incurs bank charges for the business, and many also employ external partners to ensure tips are fairly distributed among staff”.

That is an important balancing point that we need to consider.

As somebody who was born and bred in the hotel business, I have nothing but support for this tremendous Bill. I commend it to the House.

I commend my hon. Friends the Members for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) and for Watford (Dean Russell) for their work on this important Bill.

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd South (Simon Baynes), who made an excellent speech. On a previous sitting Friday, I mentioned my grandmother, who was from Chirk in his constituency, and ironically, it was in that part of the world that I learned, approximately 40 years ago, what a tip was. We regularly went on holiday to Llandudno, a lovely seaside town. We were once in the tearooms close to the seafront, and my grandmother had left a 50 pence piece on the side of her teacup. I asked, “What are you doing, Grandma?” She said, “Well, this is what is known as a tip.” I was about five years old at the time, and I asked, “What’s a tip?” And she said to me, “It’s a token of thanks to the member of staff who served you. It is not a payment for the services or the food you’ve been provided with. You are thanking them for going above and beyond in the service they’ve given you.” It is tremendously important to recognise that.

As many colleagues have said—of course, this is bound up with respect for the minimum wage—tips are not there to make up wages or for other purposes. As I have said before, tips are a token of thanks, not a means of making up income. It is important to recognise that that is an entirely separate matter. I have always felt that about industries in which people receive tips.

My hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (David Johnston) said it well about America. I still remember, as will many Members, the “Reservoir Dogs” scene in which one of the main characters—one of the Misters—is asked to give a tip in a café. He quite famously says, “I don’t tip”, and there is a huge argument around the table about the culture of tipping in America. They say, “If you don’t tip then how are these waitresses going to manage? How is this fair?” I always thought that an unusual scene because, at the time that film came out, people basically felt that tips should go to the staff, but they would have considered the idea that tips were needed to make up wages pretty unpleasant.

Of course, that is why British people who go to America are regarded as absolutely terrible tippers. We do not see it as a means of making up wages, but as a token. In America, I believe that the bare minimum one should consider tipping is 10%, although I could be wrong.

I thank my hon. Friend for clarifying that. I am afraid that I have never been to America, but I hope to have the opportunity to go.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Watford said, there is a difference between a tip and a service charge. It is important to consider them slightly differently. The main reason is that a tip is often voluntary, and if we feel that we have received bad service, we will simply not leave one. A tip is given to the individual who served us for their particular service—a token of thanks to them individually—whereas a service charge is, or should be, as my hon. Friend said, disbursed to the staff as a whole. Sometimes a service charge is not voluntary but appears on the bill, so it is not a personal choice. A distinction should be made on that.

Let me talk briefly about something that we have not mentioned. My hon. Friend the Member for Watford has said that further work will be done, so I hope that this will be given some consideration: any potential taxation of tips should be different from taxation of service charges. Tips are effectively gifts, which are taxed differently, so they should be considered in a slightly different manner from service charges. I realise that that is a slightly esoteric point—perhaps so esoteric that it may not have been considered in this debate or during the drafting of the provisions.

Taxation is wholly separate from this Bill. The Bill is very much about BEIS. To give my hon. Friend some reassurance, what the Bill will not do is change anything on taxation.

I thank my hon. Friend for his clarification. I have covered most of the points I wish to cover. We have heard a number of very sensible and reasonable contributions. This Bill has overwhelming cross-Bench support. It is long overdue, but it is terribly sad that we have to legislate to deal with this problem. It is pretty cheap for businesses to try to take tips for themselves. It is my view that they are always meant for the staff, as a token of thanks to people for service above and beyond what should be expected.

As is often the case on days such as this, one prepares an extensive speech only to then be given guidance that one should be brief. I shall therefore seek to rattle through a number of points relatively quickly and try to be as helpful as I can to the Minister.

I am interested in the explanatory notes. As you probably know, Mr Deputy Speaker, we had a public consultation in 2013, another consultation in 2016 and another response to the consultation in 2021, and now we are in 2023. Good Lord, eight years! Why has it taken so long? A number of colleagues have noted that there is no law on this issue, but paragraph 15 of the explanatory notes state:

“In terms of legal ownership: tips and gratuities which are paid directly to the employer…are presently the legal property of the employer.”

It goes on to say:

“Tips and gratuities which are paid in cash directly to a worker are the legal property of the worker”.

A number of MPs have mentioned the transition from cash to card. I am interested in the Minister’s view of the implications in terms of legal ownership and whether this Bill is of particular assistance.

I am interested that the impact assessment refers to the possibility for complaints to be made to the employment tribunal as a result of this legislation. Have the Minister or his team made an assessment of the likely impact? I would guess it is limited and perfunctory, but we know that employment tribunals are under a lot of pressure to get through pieces of work, so it would be helpful to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

I am also interested in table 12, on page 26 of the impact assessment, which looks at the summary of costs by business size and provides central estimates. There is no greater champion in this House for small businesses than the Minister, so he will have noted the distribution of costs among micro, small, medium and large businesses as a result of complying with this measure. Rather than showing a nice, graduated increase in costs whereby the largest businesses take on the largest costs, the table shows that quite a lot of the cost falls on the very smallest businesses. I am interested in hearing the Minister’s thoughts on that.

I thank my hon. Friends the Members for Watford (Dean Russell) and for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) for proposing and supporting this Bill. I will end with some questions to the Minister directly about his approach to tips, on which he may wish to advise the House while speaking with his hand on the Dispatch Box. First, does the Minister tip or not? Secondly, how much does the Minister routinely tip? If someone else offers to pay for the meal, does the Minister offer to pay the tip?

Sadly, the Minister has never bought me a free lunch, but that is no disparagement of his character.

Does the Minister pay a tip if it is automatically applied to the bill? The other points are a little frivolous, but this is a serious point: if the automatic charge is a service charge, does the Minister pay a tip in addition? That is important because there is a lot of confusion about whether a service charge is a tip. I do not think it is, and I still do not know whether it is covered by this Bill. Has the Minister ever crossed out a service charge on a bill and not paid it? Does the Minister ever dare not to pay a tip? He might choose to give the Government’s response on all those matters rather than a personal one, but I wanted to get those questions on the record. In the interests of time, I will end my comments there.

I congratulate the hon. Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) and the hon. Member for Watford (Dean Russell) on all their work on this Bill. It will make such a difference to so many people across the country, and I declare an interest, because it will make a difference for two of my older children who are working in and out of the hospitality industry and are very interested in the progress of the Bill.

The Bill is righting a wrong of many decades. When I was a waitress in a hotel, I had to drive home at the end of my shift. I was the most junior member of staff, and all the other staff lived in the hotel and would drink the tips at the end of every night, so I would not get any of those tips. I was not able to ask my employer for a written copy of the policy on tips, and I was not able to find out what my share of the tips would be. I have felt for quite a long time that that was an injustice, and I am glad that the Bill will right the many injustices that are happening on a daily basis across the country.

I support rewarding customer service and transparency and confidence for businesses, customers and employees alike. This is fairer for businesses that do the right thing. It is fairer for people who tip and expect it to go to the worker; as many Members have said, lots of things are not clear about that at the moment, and I hope it will be much clearer in future. It is also fairer for the employee, who will get the money that has been given by customers for the work they have done. Labour supports the Bill, and I am pleased to see that the Government are behind it as well. It also has the support of unions—especially the GMB, which has been campaigning on this for a long time—and UKHospitality.

Like other Members, I am surprised that there is no law on tips at the moment. However, as I said in the previous debate, this measure should have been in a comprehensive employment Bill, which has been promised time and again by Government. It is disgraceful that all this time, hospitality workers and workers in the beauty industry have been cheated out of their money. It is clear that some hospitality workers are not getting their tips, with companies instead using them to subsidise other workers’ wages, to pay for accidents such as unpaid customer bills or to pay for so-called administration costs that are very opaque. In 2015, evidence was found that two thirds of employers in hospitality were making deductions from staff tips, in some cases of 10%. With the pandemic and more people paying by card not cash, there are well-founded concerns that workers not receiving tips in full is becoming standard practice, so this law is very timely.

The Government have repeatedly promised to tackle this issue but failed to do so until now. They published a call for evidence in 2013, which showed broad support for action on fair tipping. They then promised this measure at the Conservative party conference in 2018 and in the 2019 Conservative party manifesto, and they committed to include it in the employment Bill in December 2019, but that was dropped from the last two Queen’s Speeches. In the meantime, the latest figures suggest that staff may have lost over £1 billion of tips while waiting for this legislation over the last five years.

Frontline workers in pubs, bars, cafés, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons are often the lowest paid. With the Tories’ cost of living crisis worsening by the week, every penny counts, and we desperately need this legislation. In 2020, members of Unite the union at the Ivy tried to lodge a collective grievance against their employer on a number of issues, including withholding tips, but with no formally legally backed process to take the complaint forward, this was dismissed.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Reading East (Matt Rodda) for his speech highlighting how important the Bill will be for so many of his constituents, especially for the hospitality sector and for students, and I agree with him. I am proud that it was a Labour Government who, in 2009, first intervened in this issue to make it illegal for tips to contribute to the national minimum wage, just as I am proud that, some years earlier, it was the Labour Government who introduced the national minimum wage itself.

The hon. Lady is right to congratulate the previous Labour Government on introducing the national minimum wage. Does she also agree that it is good news that the Low Pay Commission report has produced details showing that between 2019 and 2022, young people had the largest increase in wages? It was a 25% increase for 16 and 17-year-olds, compared with 11% for those over 23. Does she agree that that is very good news indeed?

An increase in the national minimum wage is very good news. I remain proud that it was the Labour Government who first brought that in and did not drag their feet for years and years over it.

Back then, too many bad bosses were using tips, which should be a voluntary extra to top up basic pay, as has been underlined by so many Members today. Once again, Labour has been ahead of the curve on this issue. The shadow Secretary of State for the future of work, my good colleague and right hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Angela Rayner), committed last year to stamp out unfair tipping practices, including through many of the provisions included in this Bill; to ensure that all tips, gratuities and service charge payments are allocated to workers in full without deductions; and to ensure that a written policy is produced to make it clear to staff how all tips are allocated, and for those tips to be paid in full at the end of the month following the payment.

Labour will ensure that tips are allocated fairly through a tronc, which is genuinely independent of the business, and we will announce proposals to allow exploited workers to lodge any workplace grievances collectively—a right denied to many hospitality workers seeking the return of deducted tips. A Labour Government will deliver for working people, ending unjust deductions and ensuring that workers themselves decide how tips are distributed.

In conclusion, I have a few questions for the Minister. First, we have before us another Bill on workers’ rights, following the passage of the previous Bill on workers’ rights. If the Government are to introduce an employment Bill effectively through supporting piecemeal private Members’ Bill such as this, which parts of the original employment Bill are they going to drop?

Secondly, many workers end up on the end of already illegal practices while at work. Without stronger enforcement of standards, there is a real risk of Bills such as this failing to meet their potential. I thank the Minister for his earlier response about the consultation on a single enforcement body. Does he believe that such a body for workers’ rights would help to enhance people’s ability to get justice against unscrupulous employers?

Thirdly, measures to strengthen the rights of hospitality workers are welcome, but ONS statistics from May last year show that nearly 25% of workers in the food and accommodation sectors are on zero-hours contracts. Hospitality workers desperately need security and flexibility, so will the Minister commit today to banning these one-sided, unfair zero-hours contracts?

I close by congratulating the hon. Member for Ynys Môn on getting this Bill so far. It will have a massive impact. It has our support and I wish her the very best in the remaining stages.

First, like the shadow Minister, let me declare my interest. I have two young daughters who work in the hospitality sector and who may benefit from this legislation. Happily, I am pleased to say that the Bill will also benefit around 1 million other people to the tune of £200 million per annum.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie)—I hope I have pronounced her constituency correctly because we have had some problems with pronunciation this morning—for her very hard work in bringing the Bill forward to Third Reading. The Bill is about fairness, transparency and, again, our efforts to make this society a fairer one. I am pleased that she has taken on the sponsorship of the Bill. Obviously, I thank the previous sponsor, my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Dean Russell), for his work on such an important piece of legislation and for his campaigning on this issue. This is not just about his work in taking the Bill forward, because he has been amazing in campaigning on this. I thank my predecessors —not just him, but my hon. Friends the Members for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Scully) and for Loughborough (Jane Hunt).

It has been brilliant to hear the support in the House for these measures, and I will briefly reiterate why the Government are supporting the Bill. A few years ago, stories were highlighted in the news about bosses wrongfully pocketing tips intended for their workers. Both the Government and the public were appalled by that; money left by customers who wanted to recognise the hard work and excellence of staff was in some cases simply treated as part of the revenue of the business. That is why my Department took action to understand the scale of the problem and launched consultations, as has been mentioned. We were then able to publish a full impact assessment to support the Bill. The Government believe that tips should go to the staff who earn them, rather than the business, and that businesses that withhold tips from staff are wrongfully benefiting from money intended for hard-working staff.

The Bill prevent therefore employers from making deductions when distributing tips, apart from those required or permitted by existing legislation, such as under tax law. That will ensure that all money left by customers is passed to workers in full, as intended. The Bill also establishes a requirement to allocate tips fairly between workers at a place of business. That protects vulnerable workers and prevents exploitation. As we have mentioned, a voluntary code of practice on tipping was published in 2009. Our evidence shows that voluntary guidance alone was not enough to stamp out bad practice. Therefore, this Bill goes a step further and requires employers to give consideration to a statutory code of practice when considering how tips should be distributed. The code will continue to be developed by the Government, in partnership with key stakeholders, and will be subject to a full consultation period before the final version is brought to this House for approval.

Let me address some specific points made by hon. Members in this debate. The hon. Member for Reading East (Matt Rodda) talked about the benefits to lower-income workers and to towns with lots of hospitality workers, such as Reading, and indeed places in Thirsk and Malton and many other constituencies represented here today. My hon. Friend the Member for Watford talked about snollygosters. I do not know whether that piece from Quentin Letts referenced my hon. Friend personally, but being mentioned in one of his articles is always a badge of honour, regardless of whether the comments are derogatory. My hon. Friend also said that this measure is about fairness and clarity, and the simple question when one is handing over a tip: “Do you get this?” He said this should not be about topping up salaries. I say that it should be about driving up service, as these tips are paid to people who do a good job. Let me answer the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Richard Fuller) on my tipping policy shortly.

There are some burdens on businesses as a result of this measure, particularly on record keeping. We should bear that in mind when we legislate, but, on balance, I think this Bill is fair. My hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mary Robinson) talked about fairness and about how most employers do the right thing but some do not. She also talked about the confusion regarding making cash or card payments, and what happens to such payments. This is not just about hospitality, as this applies to other industries, such as the beauty industry. I should point out that this Bill does not cover every sector; requirements in here about record keeping and the like, and the passing on of tips, apply only to businesses that receive tips on a more than exceptional or occasional basis. So this does not cover every instance; it applies just where tips are routinely paid.

My hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (David Johnston) talked about not just hospitality, but the key element of access to cash, on which the Government are undertaking another stream of work.

My hon. Friend the Member for North Devon (Selaine Saxby) talked about the fantastic hospitality venues that are essential to the economy in her area—as, indeed, they are to the economy in mine. She is a huge advocate for business. Many of us on the Government side of the House are for business because we are from business. I know that she is, and I welcome that.

My hon. Friend the Member for Sedgefield (Paul Howell) talked about his local hospitality venues. I have visited a number of them, not least Sedgefield racecourse on occasion, which is always a treat. He talked about how this change will be overseen and gave the example of sole traders. This legislation will be employment law and will apply only to people who are employees. The code of practice will go into that in more detail.

My hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd South (Simon Baynes) was born and bred in the hospitality sector and so speaks with real authority. He used the words that I probably mention more than any other in my role as Minister for business: “fair” and “level playing field”. That is absolutely right, and that is what we seek to achieve. He also talked about the representations from Michael Kill from the Night Time Industries Association and how this change is important to attract workers into the sector, and about the great work of Kate Nicholls for the hospitality sector.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (James Grundy) talked about this being a token of thanks. That is absolutely right, because that is what drives service.

My hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire, as always, challenged us in a number of areas. He mentioned the number of consultations we have held, and basically told us to get on with it. That is what we are doing today, of course: getting this legislation through and putting it into effect as quickly as possible. He talked about whether employment tribunals will have the capacity to deal with these issues. Work is under way across Government to expand capacity within employment tribunals. He talked about cash and cards, and what goes to whom. As he said, cash is by right the property of the employee, unless the employment contract says that it is not. The Bill will clarify that, in any circumstance, whether there is a service charge or not—that is also covered—this money will go to the employees. That is a critical part of this legislation.

It would be helpful if the Minister confirmed that, as of this Bill passing, when people see a service charge on a bill, they can say that it is covered, that it counts as a tip and that it will go to the employees rather than to other uses within the firm.

That is correct.

My hon. Friend also talked about my personal tipping. Do I tip? Yes. By standard, if there is no service charge, I would usually tip 10%, or sometimes more, based on performance. Sometimes I will tip nothing, if I do not feel that the service has been at that level. Do I tip if I do not pay for the meal? I normally pay for the meal as well actually, but I have offered to on occasion. I think that covers all his questions, but if he has any more, we can deal with them by separate means.

To respond to the shadow Minister, I again refer to my earlier comments about an employment Bill. The key thing is that we are getting on with key legislation that we think is important. It is not just this legislation; there are other pieces of legislation addressing flexible working, carer’s leave and other issues. She talked about enforcement, which is hugely important. Legislation without implementation is pointless. One of the most effective parts of our regulatory system in the UK, in my view, is employment tribunals. There is no pan-employment regulator in the UK, which, when we think about it, is quite a surprise—there are some in some sectors. There are 30 million people employed in this country, and employment tribunals do a fantastic job, at a fraction of the cost of other regulators. It is ex-post regulation, and I think a more effective means of doing that is through employment tribunals, which are principally a mechanism for enforcement.

The hon. Member talked about zero-hours contracts. A very small proportion of people in this country are on zero-hours contracts—2% to 3%. Many of them are on a zero-hours contract for good reasons and want to be on one, but she raised an important point. This is something we are looking at and determined to tackle. There are some abuses of the system, and we are keen to bring forward new regulations to make sure we tackle that area.

In conclusion, bringing forward the new rules will protect more than 2 million workers from bad bosses and give them an avenue to seek remedies. Businesses will be assured they are not being undercut by companies where bosses keep tips for themselves and consumers will have increased confidence that their tips go to the workers they are intended for. The new rules are backed by Government evidence and analysis. The Government are therefore pleased to reiterate their support for this private Member’s Bill. It has been wonderful to see the support for it in the House during today’s debate.

If I may, I would like to list the civil servants involved, and there are a number of them: Flora Strange, Lucy Allatt, Yasna Reynolds, Mary Smeeth, Tony Gordon, Joe Giles, Simi Bhamra, Bex Lowe, Richard Lewis, Abigail Bridger, Rachel Senior—I can see the Whip moving closer to me; oh no, it’s not, it is the next Minister. I will conclude very shortly!—Anthony Morris, Cora Sweet, Nadine Othman, Laura Matthews, Clara Thiel, Patrick Day and Harry Ravi. Finally, I very much look forward to working with my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn and stakeholders to support the passage of these measures as the Bill moves to the House of Lords. I commend the Bill to the House.

If the Minister was ever to invite us all out for dinner one night, I think we would like to see his tipping style in action, wouldn’t we? Fascinating.

With the leave of the House, I would like to thank all hon. Members for their contributions today. In particular, I emphasise the work of my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Dean Russell) and thank him for his kind words. He also taught us a new word, “snollygoster”. We heard about workers’ rights and he emphasised us working together as a House.

The hon. Member for Reading East (Matt Rodda) talked about the importance of the Bill for university towns such as Reading. My hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mary Robinson) mentioned a campaign to make sure people know about the measures and how we have amended the Employment Rights Act 1996. My hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (David Johnston) waxed lyrical about Christmas tips and how he plans to visit all his pubs. We had a fantastic romp through all the fantastic places to visit and eat in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for North Devon (Selaine Saxby).

My hon. Friend the Member for Sedgefield (Paul Howell) highlighted how important it is that the Bill will help businesses to look after their staff. My hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd South (Simon Baynes) grew up in the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel, a wonderful, wonderful hotel. He paid tribute in particular to Kate Nicholls. From my hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (James Grundy), we had the great image of a scene from “Reservoir Dogs” and the culture of tipping in the US. My dog sends her best wishes to my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Richard Fuller), who talked about impact assessments and small businesses. Lastly, the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Putney (Fleur Anderson) shared her experiences of not being able to drink her tips and the significance of the support of unions and UKHospitality.

I would like to end by thanking the Minister for signalling the Government’s continued support for the Bill. I hope hon. Members in all parts of the House can agree that this is an essential piece of legislation, which will help to promote fairness and transparency to ensure that workers receive the tips they earn. I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.