Living Wage at JPRestaurants
Jersey caterer JPRestaurants and sister ceramics business Jersey Pottery have taken the decision to guarantee that all employees over 18 will receive £10.55 (April 2019), the equivalent of the Jersey Living Wage published by Caritas, for every hour worked. This amount is significantly more than the current Jersey Minimum Wage and will be reviewed annually in April.
This initiative will applies to all 160 full and part-time employees working in JPRestaurants outlets (Oyster Box, Banjo, Jersey Crab Shack and Café Ubé), the Jersey Pottery ceramic business and Capsicum Catering which provides catering to students at Jersey schools and colleges.
Robert Jones, director of JPRestaurants, said “For all our restaurant staff we will be guaranteeing that the hourly rate plus tips will be at least £10.55 an hour plus holiday entitlement. All other head office, retail shop, schools and café employees will be paid at least a minimum of £10.55 an hour plus statutory benefits. Unlike some restaurants, 100% of our customer tips are distributed to staff. Tips are a part of the hospitality industry and until a service charge is made compulsory, as it is in France where the price you see on the menu includes a service element, we feel we can’t increase prices and stop tipping due to the competitive environment. We would be supportive of the States of Jersey changing the law to follow France. The UK Living Wage Foundation have acknowledged the tips issue in the UK and it is for this reason many restaurants are not accredited by them.”
Paul Woodman, Finance Director, said “ We don’t anticipate having to raise prices in our restaurant business but we will be implementing some small price rises at Café Ubé and Capsicum Catering to cover the increased living wage and higher food costs associated with Brexit. We have worked hard over the last few years to increase productivity through operational enhancement and staff training and this has enabled us to keep prices competitive while maintaining our high service levels. I’m sure we will have the support of our customers in the schools and café businesses where it would not be economically viable to increase rates to £10.20 an hour without small prices rises.”
Dominic Jones, director of JPRestaurants, said “We are delighted to announce this initiative following close behind our recent green initiative “Eating towards a greener Jersey”. We believe this is the right approach for local businesses to take and demonstrates that hospitality can be a rewarding career path for islanders and contribute to the quality of life in Jersey. The island needs businesses to become more productive. The newly elected States chamber should encourage and supportive local employers in achieving this objective. This will result in reduced demand for imported labour and higher pay for local employees, two of the key themes of the election campaign.”
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*UPDATE AND FURTHER INFORMATION*
Since release of our new living wage initiatives, we’ve had some questions, so we’d like to provide further clarification. We are providing a legal guarantee that all our employees will receive at least £10.55 for every hour worked. Current practise in Jersey and the UK is that tips form part of an employees compensation and must be declared as taxable revenues. This is not the case in France where tips are not expected from customers and the price includes service and hourly rates are higher. As we state in our press release we’d welcome a change of the law in Jersey to follow France. In the meantime we believe we are the first hospitality business in Jersey that has guaranteed that staff will received at least £10.20 plus benefits for every hour worked. Many of our staff earn more. This guarantee applies across our business even in areas where tips are not paid. Tips are a gratuity paid by customers although some tips paid in our restaurants for example a discretionary service charge for large tables are added automatically to the bill. We distribute 100% or tips to staff. We could just put up prices and stop tips and raise hourly rates but this wouldn’t be possible without a change in the law because of the competitive environment.We believe the hourly rates our staff receive are among the best in Jersey in the hospitality industry. The arrangement we have proposed to guarantee pay including tips is what the UK Living Wage Foundation suggest is the best approach in the hospitality industry.We also offer all staff permanent contracts and don’t offer zero hours contracts unless staff request them.
Tips is an emotive subject and one we are pleased people want to discuss. We have taken the view that the whole team are responsible for the experience you get at all our JPRestaurants outlets, so we have a points system based on seniority to distribute credit card and cash tips to all kitchen and wait staff working in the outlet they are given. We don’t transfer tips between different outlets as some Jersey businesses do.
We feel it’s the fairest way and leads to a one team approach. It also enables us to keep detailed track of what staff earn so we can let them and prospective employees know what their earning expectations are when they join us. All new employees are shown a table showing the last year’s average tips and salary for each hour worked for a particular grade in each restaurant. We also provide a total compensation statement each April showing what all employees have earned in the past financial year. Importantly tips paid this way attract social security and tax payments so combined with our Living Wage guarantee we are ensuring employees contribute to society and we are helping reduce the burden of benefit payments. We only guarantee tips for our restaurant staff for the reasons set our above. This a legal guarantee contained in the employment contract and so is equivalent to earning the Living Wage as staff know they will receive at least that amount. For staff in other parts of our business such as retail, Café Ubé and Capsicum Catering, our schools business,all staff will be paid at least the Living Wage from June as tips are not part of their compensation.
We are open and transparent with our policy which isn’t the case with many other restaurants. As we said in our release we’d rather we had the law changed like in France and tips were not expected or even refused and then we could add the tip element into our price and raise hourly rates and we wouldn’t need the guarantee.
Our guarantee to our employee is a legal commitment of our business to underwrite tips and therefore we feel a bold move in our industry. We hope others follow our decision. Hopefully customers will demand that. Ultimately a tip is part of what you pay to dine out.It is expected by many restaurant employees across Jersey. Many customers would prefer a much simpler approach and reduce the uncomfortableness of tip paying at the end of a nice meal.
The origin of tips is to supplement earnings of low paid staff. We feel this is demeaning in 2018 and it’s time for change. We believe the Living Wage is a win win for everyone and should be adopted across the island.