A worker-employer-customer triangle: The case of tips

Einat Albin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In October 2009, a new policy towards tips and minimum wage was adopted in Britain. That new policy triggered the present article which looks at precarious work resulting from customer involvement in the work relationship. The article broadens our understanding of precarious work by offering the term 'multiple work relationships' as a prism through which to look at various situations where employing and working functions are distributed among several people or entities. One form of multiple work relations is the worker-employer-customer triangle, discussed in the article with a focus on the case of tip payment. The argument made is that in today's work domain, customers take part in various employing functions that impact the traditional personal and bilateral worker-employer relationship, creating a worker-employer-customer triangle. The analysis focuses on the way tips are addressed by minimum wage regulation and reveals the implications of legal policy for the work relations of tip receivers and their precarious situation in the specific national and historical context of Britain. Against the background of that history, the change in Britain's approach towards tips in the 1990s is discussed, as are its three causes: the policy of flexibility, the entry of the human rights discourse into the field of labour law and the adoption of a unitary approach to the definition of the employment relationship. Finally attention is given to the new policy and its potentials.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)181-206
Number of pages26
JournalIndustrial Law Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011


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