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Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Tipping details may be made public

By Gurvinder Aujla
Newsbeat reporter

1 coins and bill
Some catering employees miss out on tips at the moment

Restaurants could be forced to reveal exactly how much of the tip or service charge paid by customers actually ends up going to waiting staff.

It is just one of the measures that are being set out in a consultation paper about tipping in restaurants.

The government wants to close a loophole in the law which has allowed some restaurant chains to pay waiting staff a basic rate below minimum wage and to use tips or the service charge to top that up.

At the moment, rules on where tips and service charges go are unclear. Some restaurants keep all the gratuities while others share them out equally amongst staff.

Diners at a restaurant in Essex told Newsbeat they're pretty confused about who gets to keep the tip.

One man said: "You just put some money on the table and hope it goes to the person who was waiting on you."

While another woman told Newsbeat: "It would be nice if we knew they were getting it themselves."

'Bonus'

The recommendations won't become law just yet. First the government wants feedback on the proposals from the industry itself.

Donna is the assistant manager at the Fish Market Restaurant in Benfleet in Essex.
I don't think the management should keep the tips. It's us who have worked for them
Paul, head chef

In their restaurant, tips are shared out equally amongst staff, but she welcomes moves to clamp down on using tips as part of an employees' wages.

She said: "Customers give them for the service on the day, so it's at their discretion. It should not be set within a wage but as a bonus."

Donna is also happy to print an explanation of where the tips go on their menu or on signs but thinks that would be expensive for some restaurants.

She added: "For other restaurants to have menus pre-printed, I can see that could cause a problem."

'We worked for them'

Natalie is one of the waitresses at the restaurant and she said that most diners expect the waiting staff to receive the tips.

She told Newsbeat she is quizzed by customers who ask if she receives the tips.

But not all staff who work in catering always receive tips.

Paul is the head chef at the Fish Market and he's previously worked in a restaurant where he didn't get his tips

He said: "We weren't told we wouldn't be getting the tips.

"Sometimes they started giving us tips, then they were taken away from us. I don't think the management should keep the tips. It's us who have worked for them."

Following the consultation process, the new guidelines could be adopted next year.



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