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New law tabled to stop employers claiming tips

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Legislation was tabled in the House of Assembly to ensure tips and gratuities are not claimed by employers.

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, said the Employment (Protection of Employee Tips and Other Gratuities) Amendment Act 2023 would help to ensure tips go towards the workers who earned them.

Mr Hayward said that outside of unionised workplaces, there was no legislation to oversee gratuities, which meant there was no recourse for employees who do not receive the full tips owed to them.

‘The Employment Act 2000 sets the minimum requirements for employment relationships within Bermuda,“ he said.

”However, despite the frequent amendments to this Act, there remain areas within the legislation that are out of step when compared to other jurisdictions and are not in keeping with the International Labour Organisation’s standard for best practice.

“Specifically, currently there is no provision under the Act for the protection of tips and other gratuities in the workplace.”

He said the ministry had received reports of employers who offer pooled tips to employees not involved in the provision of services or put those funds into the business itself.

“As a result, worker’s tips and gratuities are being reduced when they are made to share with others who should not be a part of the distribution,” he said.

However, the new amendments would define gratuities, prevent the withholding of gratuities and establish safeguards to ensure the gratuities go to the workers.

The amendments will also lay out civil penalties for employees found to breach the rules, Mr Hayward added.

“It is envisioned that this amendment will have a positive impact as it will ensure employees’ tips and other gratuities are managed appropriately and that employees have a clear understanding of how their tips and other gratuities are distributed,” he said.

Mr Hayward said that the Department of Labour had received complaints about employees not being given the gratuities they had earned, but it was difficult to gauge exactly how widespread the issue is.

In response to questions posed by Jarion Richards, the Opposition leader, the minister said work-permit holders were often less likely to speak up when abuse takes place.

“We don’t have an accurate figure, but we do know this is a positive step for those who work in the industry,” he said.

Mr Hayward, however, said that the bulk of complaints that have been received came from the restaurant industry.

He added that guidance notes will be released before the commencement date of the legislation to raise awareness of the changes.

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Published September 23, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated September 23, 2023 at 7:59 am)

New law tabled to stop employers claiming tips

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