Not satisfied with paying you low wages and then not paying you for all the hours you work, many employers then want to claw back money from you through deductions from pay or demanding a slice of your tips. Without you even realising it, you probably signed to agree to some of this because your employer will have slipped a clause into the contract which covers their backs. Remember, always read your contract in full.

Below are your basic rights. One thing you should never do is hand over cash at the end of your shift from your tips or from your own pocket to cover things like walk outs and breakages. If they believe they have a case for a deduction let them follow the correct process and then appeal the decision if its not fair - but do not hand over cash.

Also try to make sure sure staff control the tronc if there is one. You can't have managers making decisions about staff tips.

Your employer isn’t allowed to make deductions unless:

  • it’s required or allowed by law, eg National Insurance, income tax or student loan repayments
  • you agree in writing
  • your contract says they can
  • there’s a statutory payment due to a public authority
  • you haven’t worked due to taking part in a strike or industrial action
  • there’s been an earlier overpayment of wages or expenses
  • it’s a result of a court order

A deduction can’t normally reduce your pay below the National Minimum Wage even if you agree to it, except if the deduction is for:

  • tax or National Insurance
  • something you’ve done and your contract says you’re liable for it, eg a shortfall in your till if you work in a shop
  • repayment of a loan or advance of wages
  • repayment of an accidental overpayment of wages
  • buying shares or share options in the business
  • accommodation provided by your employer
  • your own use, eg union subscriptions or pension contributions

If you work in retail - eg shops, restaurants

Your employer can’t take more than 10% from your gross pay (pay before tax and National Insurance) each pay period to cover any shortfalls.


There’s a shortfall of £50 in your till and your employer wants to deduct this from your earnings.

You’re paid £250 gross per week. Your employer can take 10% of your gross earnings, which is £25.

They must only take £25 one week and then make another deduction from your next pay cheque for £25.

If you leave your job, they can take the full amount owed from your final pay