The change.org petition, which is addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, says: “A lot of us are breathing a sigh of relief thanks to the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS), but for many of us in the service industry, a large portion of our salary is made up of tronc/service charge.
“This petition is to ensure that the full salary of base rate and service charge combined is included in the calculations that decide how much 80% of our monthly earnings will be.”
The lack of clarity regarding whether or not employers should include tronc or service charge payments when calculating an employee’s JRS payment has caused a lot of concern within the industry in the last week.
Government guidance originally stated that employers could claim a grant through HMRC to cover 80% of an employee’s regular wage up to £2,500 per month, but that “fees, commission and bonuses should not be included”.
Details regarding whether employers should have included tronc payments when calculating the 80% was unclear.
However, updated guidance published earlier this month says employers can claim for any regular payments they are obliged to pay their employees including “wages, past overtime, fees and compulsory commission payments”, but that “discretionary bonus (including tips) and commission payments and non-cash payments should be excluded”.
While the guidance still fails to address the issue of tronc directly, the HMRC has said that as a method of paying tips, it isn’t eligible under the scheme.
Last week, trade body UKHospitality called on the Government to reconsider its decision to exclude tronc payments under the JRS.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is incredibly disappointing that the Government has seen fit to exclude tronc payments from people’s earnings.
“HMRC will have evidence that employees are paid tips through a tronc, so there seems no reason not to include it in the Job Retention Scheme.
“This is taxable income that team members have earned. Excluding it from the scheme means that furloughed employees will receive less money to see them through this crisis. Money they should be entitled to.”
To sign the petition, click here.