Latest regulatory updates
Last updated 7th December 2018
Kurt Janson, Director of the Tourism Alliance, gives a monthly update on the latest regulatory changes affecting the hospitality industry.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Pink Book of Legislation, we regret that we cannot be responsible for any errors. Read our full disclaimer.
Possible changes to legal guidance on transporting guests
A common issue facing small accommodation businesses, especially in rural and smaller seaside destinations, is how to get customers using public transport to and from the train or bus station when local taxi services may not be available.
At the moment, the legislation on this is very restrictive – unless you hold a Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV licence) you are only allowed to provide transport for customers on an occasional, irregular basis. For example, if your guests called to say their car has broken down and asked if you could collect them or their taxi hasn’t arrived and they need to catch a train. You are not allowed to charge them for the trip, you can’t use a vehicle with more than eight seats and you cannot advertise that you provide a transport or collection service from the local station.
The determination as to what is “occasional” relies on licensing authorities deciding whether carrying passengers is a separate and identifiable part of the overall service being provided to customers, or whether it is an ancillary service that is not guaranteed and only provided on an ad hoc basis. At the moment, the Government’s guidance on the legislation deems the provision of a collection service as being an obvious and separate component of providing accommodation and, thus, a PSV licence is required.
However, the Government is now considering amending the guidance that interprets the legislation. This could result in the collection of customers from public transport terminals by accommodation providers being explicitly classified as an “Ancillary Service”, meaning that accommodation providers could be able to advertise and undertake collection services without the need for a PSV licence.
It should be remembered that, even if this change is made, you will still need to ensure that you have the appropriate business insurance for any vehicles used and undertake a health and safety assessment of the operation of this type of service.
Last updated 4th October 2018
New legislation coming into force on tipping
It was announced at the Conservative party conference that new legislation would be introduced on tipping, as part of the Government's push to end exploitative employment practices. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that workers receive the full amount of tips left by customers and prevent businesses from making deductions.
As yet, no date has been set for introducing this legislation, but it is a good prompt to look at your current tipping policy against best practice to prepare.
Although there is no current legislation covering the treatment of tips, the main trade association of the hospitality sector – UK Hospitality - has developed a good practice guide for its members which is a good starting point for developing or assessing your own tipping policy.
Their good practice guidance covers four main principles:
The process for allocating tips should be as independent as possible, to ensure that there is no undue bias in the allocation process. One way of achieving this is to establish a committee with representation from both staff and management.
The allocating of tips should be transparent so that all employees understand the rules and process and who is making the decisions.
The allocation of tips should be fair. Any deductions must be justified and limited to actual costs incurred by the business.
There should be a resolution process for dealing with any disputes regarding the tip allocation process or any complaints received by customers as to how their tip was allocated.
Not only will following these four principles put you in a good position for adjusting to the new legislation when it is introduced, it can help to improve staff relations in the meantime.