Zizzi cuts staff benefits to counter mininum wage rise

Zizzi has become the latest company to cut back on staff benefits to account for the 50p rise in the minimum wage to £7.20.

In a note to staff seen by the Financial Times, the restaurant told waiters they will keep just 50% of the credit card tips and 12.5% service charge - the previous ratio was 70:30. The remainder is to be shared out among supervisors and kitchen staff.

Staff who qualify for a free meal have also had their choice reduced. They are now allowed to choose only a margherita pizza or a pasta with tomato sauce rather than select from a wider menu.

The group said that instead of giving free food allowances to anyone working at least a six-hour shift, it had introduced a cut-price menu for all workers. It still provides free teas, coffee and squash to all.

The change came days after the implementation of the government’s living wage on 1 April, which pushed up the minimum pay for workers aged over 25 by 50p an hour to £7.20, and months after the restaurant group removed an 8% administration charge from staff tips.

The coffee chain Caffe Nero recently cut free food for staff, while Waitrose and B&Q have stopped paying Sunday overtime to some workers. Last week, the chancellor said companies who made changes to staff perks were not acting in “the spirit of the law”.