The government has announced changes to the law on tipping, with operators to be banned from using tips and service charges to bring staff pay up to the minimum wage. The new measures, which have been announced on the 10th anniversary of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), are set to come into force towards the end of next year. A 12-week consultation on the proposals is to be launched in the autumn, with the changes to be introduced on 1 October 2009 if approved. In a comment piece for this morning’s national newspapers seen by M&C Report, John Hutton, the business secretary, said: “Dealing with this is a matter of fairness and common sense. “When we go to a restaurant or to have our haircut and we leave a tip, we expect it to go to the staff member in addition to their pay — not to be processed through the payroll to make up the minimum wage. “We want to encourage employers to make it clear how tips are distributed so customers know where their money is going and whether or not the establishment operates a fair tipping policy.” Under the new policy, employers will also be “encouraged” to make it clear to customers where their tips go. Hutton said: “We also want to encourage employers to make it clear how tips are distributed so that customers know where their money is going and whether or not the establishment operates a fair tipping policy.” At present, under the rules of 1998 Act, employers use tips processed through the payroll to count towards the minimum wage. The expected change in policy follows mounting pressure from various fair tips campaigns, backed by several restaurant groups and top chefs.