I occasionally do part time delivery work for a local takeaway. They provide an amount of pay for 3 hours. However if I do a large range of deliveries in large quantities, I often find after counting my money I don't make any money but in fact a loss from the cost of petrol outweighing the pay. The employer keeps tips and delivery charges.

My question is, is there any way I can negotiate getting the delivery charges, or would it be legal for me to keep the tips and not make the employer aware. Or even just quit as it's obviously it's not worth it as I'm not actually getting the amount of pay I'm being told.

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    How do you make a loss, i.e. what are your expenses? For fuel? Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 13:11
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    Are you driving a car to deliver? There's a reason most takeaway couriering is done by motorcycle/scooter.
    – Carcer
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 14:38
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    @Carcer May be area dependant but there’s nobody out here riding to deliveries
    – Twyxz
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 16:55
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    "The employer keeps tips" Do you mean ones paid on credit-card, or cash tips you receive at the door (you always keep these, right?? a) In some areas employer keeping tips is illegal (look into this) b) Hint to your customers to tip cash, esp. if they ask how to tip you.
    – smci
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 22:13
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    Are you in a labour union?
    – gerrit
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 8:41

4 Answers 4


If you are employed by the takeaway, then as you are in the UK, you are covered by minimum wage legislation. Your employer should be paying you the costs of doing the deliveries, plus the national minimum wage (which varies by age). If they're not, you should demand this - which may in practice result in you losing your job, but either way you'll be owed back pay for the difference.

There's a possibility you are actually "self-employed", in which you have no recourse other than to leave as you are considered to be responsible for yourself. However, it's very tempting for businesses to classify people as self-employed when they're not, and you can challenge that status - there have been some well-publicised court cases about this, for example this one. You can read the definition of self-employed here. I think you could probably point to not getting to keep tips as one piece of evidence that you aren't self-employed. If you're paid hourly rather than by the delivery I think that would also strengthen your case.

If you are employed, have a look at https://checkyourpay.campaign.gov.uk/#is_your_employer_paying_you_properly_ for more information on your rights.

As mentioned on that page, you can also talk to ACAS or report them directly to HMRC, anonymously.

They may also be obliged to hand over your tips in addition to the minimum wage, but I'm not sure of the exact rules on that. For example it might be ok for your employer to collect them and share with the "non customer facing" staff like the cooks. There's some information about it here and it's another thing you can ask ACAS/HMRC about.

You have no direct rights to any delivery charge your employer charges customers, but of course they may use that to fund paying you your wages and expenses.

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    gov.uk/tips-at-work Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 13:33
  • @DarrenBartrup-Cook thanks, added a note about that. Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 13:50
  • Just to make this a little more clear: What your employer is doing is illegal. He does owe you the money.
    – Falco
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 14:19
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    This answer assumes the OP is a worker or an employee under UK employment law. They may be a self-employed contractor (as for Deliveroo, Uber, Amazon, etc drivers) in which case they are not covered by minimum wage legislation. Before doing anything the OP needs to establish their status.
    – stuart10
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 17:04
  • @stuart10 thanks, that's a very good point which considerably weakens my answer. I've added a paragraph to adress it now. Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 6:23

What are delivery charges?

From what I remember working delivery we had 3 values - my rate (very low), fuel price and tips. At the end of the week I showed distance I travelled, my MpG and received money to cover this expense I made at the beginning of workweek.

So my employer paid for my time and resources. Tips were mine to keep (as in I didn't enclosed them when returning from delivery).

If your employer is keeping tips and not covering the cost of fuel I would advise to leave the job. It doesn't look like it is worth the hassle of negotiating.

But of course I would keep it simple, just say (don't ask) that you think you should be keeping delivery charges and tips as they are basically cost of delivery made by you.

If they won't agree with you - leave.

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    Delivery charges are like fuel price, it's what the customer pays to cover the cost of fuel
    – Twyxz
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 14:04
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    So yes, those should be paid to you. Owners can mace a little money off them (as sometimes DC will be 2 pounds but you only use fuel for 50p). and if they are flexible (above certain order value delivery is free) you should know when customer pay them. Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 14:17
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    @Twyxz I am pretty sure it should cover insurance and vehicle maintenance too. Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 14:18
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    So yeah, in short: Tips should be yours to keep, delivery charges should cover your petrol cost. I think you can do better with uber eats. Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 14:28
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    Please don’t put multiple spaces at the end of lines or sentences, it breaks the Markdown formatting — the result is that your paragraphs are now broken across lines rather than being formatted as consistent paragraphs (I would simply fix this but I can’t make edits consisting only of whitespace changes). Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 15:32

is there any way I can negotiate getting the delivery charges

You can try, but I strongly suspect you'll get the answer "no". Your employer is pretty clearly abusive.

or would it be legal for me to keep the tips and don't make the employer aware

No. If your contract says that they keep the tips, they keep the tips. Hiding tips from them is pretty clearly fraudulent.

Or even just quit

This is always an option. While in general we say "don't quit without a new job to go to", if you're actually losing money doing this, just quit right now.


Your employer may be breaking the law by withholding tips and/or failing to cover your expenses and a minimum wage, as others have noted above. Don't muddy the waters by potentially breaking the law yourself by keeping money under the table if there is a work agreement or contract that requires you to pass the tips along.

You should do two things: immediately start looking for another job. When you feel comfortable doing so, go to your employer and tactfully describe how you are losing money, and show it on paper with numbers. From the sound of things, they probably won't want to help you out, hence suggestion to look for another job.

I'm not sure that quitting immediately is beneficial, as a job that covers your living expenses minus 50 lbs a month (just hypothetically) is better than no job and being in the hole for all of your living expenses. The former (your present situation) is admittedly not sustainable in the long term, but the latter is worse, it's a bit of a disaster if you can't immediately get another job.

  • This is only a part time job and I do have a full time job as well. However good suggestions, noted.
    – Twyxz
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 13:57
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    Glad to hear it. My only other advice is to avoid burning bridges, even if the other party deserves it. Good luck! Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 14:10
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    Someone wiser than me said: Never burn bridges. Some bridges need blowing up. Blow them up, don’t burn them.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 19:28
  • I'm trying to think of circumstances where I would blow up a bridge. If I was aware that my boss was a child molester, it would be my duty to notify the police. In most other situations, being known as someone with good people skills is more useful to me than pyrotechnics. Others may disagree - I believe Donald Trump is famous for his use of revenge as a tool of business strategy. Not my style, though, and I haven't seen anything in OP's situation that suggests a scorched earth response. Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 1:33

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