by Christina Golding
TWO-thirds of hoteliers and caterers agree with their staff that tips should not be counted as part of the minimum wage, according to a new report.
The findings from a poll of 114 owners covering all sectors of the industry appear to conflict with the proposal put forward by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) to the Low Pay Commission in October, which urged the inclusion of tips together with free meals and accommodation.
The Government, which revealed the minimum wage rate in June this year, went along with the recommendation, stating tips going through the payroll should be included. It also suggested that a charge of up to £20 for accommodation could be allowed as part of the minimum wage.
But BHA chief executive Jeremy Logie said he was not surprised by the findings.
"We were anxious to have the option to include tips for companies where financial arrangements would be significantly affected. It is having the option that matters," he said.
He added that there had been "a number" of BHA members in favour of excluding tips but a survey or poll had not been carried out "in the same way" prior to the association's proposal to the commission.
The latest report, by research company Foodservice Intelligence, also shows that, of 425 managers questioned, 71% believed tips should be on top of the minimum wage, not part of it. Some 79% of kitchen and front of house staff agreed.
Peter Backman, chief executive of Foodservice Intelligence, said: "I can understand front of house and kitchen staff wanting to keep tips, because that would increase their wages, but I was surprised at how consistent the views were at different levels."