A new law is finally set to stop restaurants taking their waiters’ tips - after at least SIX years of Tory dithering.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to announce plans this week to stop firms keeping the 12.5% service charge many customers pay by card.

Instead bosses will be forced by law to distribute 100% of those service charges fairly between workers, which could include kitchen staff.

Sources said the need for change has become “acute” after Covid wiped out cash tips for many staff, and caused a recruitment crisis in hospitality.

But it comes a full five years since the government first suggested it could change the law - and three years after Theresa May said she would change it as soon as possible.

Even after this week’s announcement, no legal change is expected before next year at the very earliest, the Mirror understands.

Ministers are looking at wrapping the change into the long-awaited Employment Bill, which will not be introduced in this session of Parliament.

Ministers have been saying they would change the setup of waiters’ tips since 2016, following a lengthy consultation.

Theresa May promised to introduce a change to staff tips “as soon as Parliamentary time allows” at Conservative Party Conference in September 2018.

But in 2019, Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said the legislation would be further delayed until the next session of Parliament.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is set to announce the change this week (

Image:

Getty Images)

The 2019 Queen’s Speech promised an Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill to to “support those working hard”.

The Bill would have placed a “legal obligation on employers to pass on all tips, gratuities and service charges to workers without any deductions”.

Employers in England, Wales and Scotland would have been forced to “distribute tips in a fair and transparent manner, where employers have control or significant influence over the distribution of tips”.

But it never came before Covid hit, and there was then no mention of the Bill in Boris Johnson ’s latest Queen’s Speech in 2021.

It’s understood the change will be modelled on the original plan for the Allocation of Tips Bill from 2019.

The change was suggested years ago when it emerged chains including Prezzo, Zizzi and Pizza Express deducted between 8 and 10% of tips from employees. All three chains have since reversed the policy.

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