As a nation, Australia is divided over tipping etiquette. Some people believe leaving a proportion of your bill as tip is the decent thing, while others will toss a few coins in the tip jar if they think the service staff deserved it.
While tipping is common practice and indeed required in many countries, the guidelines surrounding tipping on our own sunburnt soil is a different kettle of fish.
The reality is that there are no hard-and-fast rules for tipping in Australia. In countries such as the US, where the minimum wage is notoriously low, workers rely heavily on tips for a living. In Australia, however, it’s a different story. The minimum wage across Australia is set at $17.29 per hour, so tips aren’t considered necessary.
Unlike the UK and most of Europe, the price of most items by law in Australia already includes tax and service charges. So if the listed price says $20, then all you have to pay is $20.
It’s worth mentioning that in recent years, some establishments have been known to add sneaky ‘suggested’ tips onto the bill. You’re most likely to see this happen at higher-end restaurants or bars, and while it isn’t mandatory to pay, some people may feel obliged to. The key here is to check your bill carefully and never feel you must pay a tip just because it’s been suggested.
So what if you do want to leave a tip?
All this said, while tips are not expected in most Australians service industries, they are always appreciated. Say you’ve taken a taxi and had a particularly good conversation with you driver. Or you stayed at a hotel where the staff members were friendly and the service exceptional. Or maybe instead of bothering with change at your local cafe, you decide to leave it on the table for the staff to collect.
It’s entirely based on your discretion whether you feel a tip is necessary or has been earned. Rounding up the cost to nearest dollar amount, adding 10 per cent or just throwing in a couple of extra gold coins will usually do the trick.
Your guide to tipping overseas