Law To Stop Employers Taking Service Staff's Tips Gets Passed Through Seanad

Law To Stop Employers Taking Service Staff's Tips Gets Passed Through Seanad

A bill to prevent employers from taking tips given to service staff was approved by the Seanad last night.

The bill, entitled the National Minimum Wage (Protection of Employee Tips) Bill 2017, will seek to legally enshrine greater financial protections for workers in service industries. It is intended as an amendment to the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 with the explicit purpose of ensuring that tips and gratuities left to service staff are received by the individual server, or are reasonably distributed among employees.

The bill, proposed by Sinn Féin senator Paul Gavan, seeks to ensure that it will be unlawful for an employer to take or withhold tips that could reasonably be assumed to have been given expressly to an employee. It declares that should an employer withhold tips, the amount withheld will be legally owed to the employee as if it were wages. Should an employer withhold tips from an employee, the employee will have legal recourse to refer the matter to the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission.

This will come as great news to students, given that many find themselves in part-time employment in service industries during their studies to help pay their way through university. Indeed, Michelle Byrne, the Vice-President for Campaigns at the Union of Students in Ireland, who was present for the Seanad's discussions last night, stated that students were mentioned numerous times throughout the debate as one of the key groups this bill would help protect.

The fact that the bill met with such unanimous approval in the Seanad gives hope that it will move similarly quickly through the Dáil and can soon be signed into law by the President.


Given the often exploitative practices of some employers in services industries it is great to see importance being given to a bill that helps safeguard the rights of employees and provide them, and their work, with greater financial protection.

The full bill can be read here.

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Rory McNab

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