Tips on tipping within Australia

Should you tip in Australia and how much is enough?

Tip jar on cafe counter

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.

Related article:
Your guide to tipping overseas





    COMMENTS

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    kebinsv
    18th Apr 2016
    10:03am
    NO tipping in Australia, please. It is very annoying overseas, especially in the US where you do not have a choice as it is added automatically to your bill.
    heyyybob
    18th Apr 2016
    10:05am
    Agree !!
    MICK
    18th Apr 2016
    1:07pm
    Yeah kev. Drives me nuts as sort of expected no matter what the service. And when you don't tip a jerk when you have bought a service from a company they are not real happy.
    Not in Australia please.
    Retired Knowall
    18th Apr 2016
    2:50pm
    Many people in the US work exclusively for tips in the service industries. Without them they would starve.If you happen to work in an upmarket restaurant and a bill for a meal for two is $250, then with a 15% tip you get $37 odd tip, but if you work at a nickle and dime food hall you may make $30 per night.
    Anonymous
    21st Apr 2016
    10:38am
    Good reason to end tipping and pay proper wages!

    Compulsory tipping is ridiculous and an insult to customers. We should have the right to tip as is deserved only - NEVER to top up wages because employers don't pay fairly.
    heyyybob
    18th Apr 2016
    10:04am
    This is Australia. SURELY we don't have to copy EVERYTHING that other countries (read USA) do ALL the time ? Think first ;)
    Julian
    22nd Apr 2016
    12:21pm
    Yes very true Bob, how our culture seems to merge east toward the US. Its prob the usual uninformed yanks who starting spoiling Australian goods and services industries by wrongly assuming that just because they have to tip, everyone else does. This precedent has set an expectation.

    Sometimes you get a dirty look but tough. This is not America. That said, if you're really happy with everything and you feel its deserved, why not?
    biddi
    18th Apr 2016
    10:43am
    How do you feel about that little jar that awaits you on the counter when paying for a meal
    or coffee?
    heyyybob
    18th Apr 2016
    10:47am
    Selective blindness ;) I refuse to see it !! It's an unwanted imposition as far as I'm concerned :)
    MICK
    18th Apr 2016
    1:08pm
    I won't tip a jar and I won't tip if the product was expensive or the service so so. Why should I.
    Troubadour
    18th Apr 2016
    1:41pm
    I do not mind 'the little jar' and if we have had good service and in case of cafe's/restaurants, the food has been good, do not mind putting a little extra in at all.
    However, I would object to having a suggested tip added to my bill,
    that is just rude.

    18th Apr 2016
    11:22am
    Very few people here know how LOW the wages are for a waitress/waiter in the U.S. and the tips are greatly relied upon to supplement their income. The reason for tipping there is NOT only for showing you have received good service, but has evolved, to a great degree, as recognition by patrons OF those low wages. I, myself, often tip for good service and am sure it is appreciated, but I have also seen a waitress throw a "meagre" tip at a patron leaving the restaurant as she thought it an insult. You do what you want and I will do what I want - it is the circumstances that decide, for me anyway.
    MICK
    18th Apr 2016
    1:10pm
    Around $10 an hour. This is the model which coalition governments keep fighting for. In the US 0.1% of the population owns 90% of everything. The greedy rich in Australia are trying for the same deal whilst spruiking about "creating jobs". They won't. Just pocket the cash!
    Anonymous
    21st Apr 2016
    10:40am
    Compulsory tipping to top up inadequate wages is disgusting. Tips should ALWAYS be entirely voluntary. Why are waitress/waiter wages so low in the US? Because people accept a system that is unacceptable. They should refuse to tip but demand legislation to protect wages and ensure all employers pay fairly.
    KB
    18th Apr 2016
    11:36am
    Tipping is essential in countries like America because workers earn a mere pittance. People should only tip here if they have received quality service rather than out of compulsion.
    heyyybob
    18th Apr 2016
    11:42am
    I'm one of those lucky (?) ones who know how low wait staff wages are in the U.S. NO problem with how Americans and visitors (including myself) to AMERICA handle that. In Australia it is a different matter, for me. As a consumer, in Australia, I expect a certain level of service when I spend my money in any establishment (cafe, restaurant, Woolworths etc). If the 'service' is above my level of expectation then I trust that the Employer will recognise the Employee providing the 'service' and compensate them for their service above and beyond what is expected. If they don't then I expect the Employee will eventually seek an Employer that will appreciate their worth - in all fields of employment. As a consumer I don't wish to abrogate The Bosses job :)
    heyyybob
    18th Apr 2016
    12:02pm
    I should have added that I don't have HIGH LEVELS of expectation just a reasonable level, thats all :)
    Cat
    12th Nov 2016
    11:15pm
    In my experience if you are an above average or exceptional worker, for instance one of the company's top salespeople or work harder or faster than others, rather than compensate you all they will do is exploit you for all they can get out of you, and that also usually means DENYING such a worker any kind of opportunity in the company and keep you where you are doing all that you are doing so they can continue to exploit your capabilities and efforts to the max to their maximum benefit and at your expense. That is all that will happen.
    Supernan
    18th Apr 2016
    11:43am
    A common place Aussies tip is at the Hairdressers. Their wages are especially low, ccompared to other trades & considering the time it takes to get through an apprenticeship.

    in the 1950s, 1960s I was very grateful for tips ! Helped buy my scissors, etc & pay for uniforms the employers made us buy ! Up till becoming a pensioner, I gave my hairdresser a gift voucher at Christmas. Now I just give chocolates but I still notice lots of ladies tipping the girls each time they visit.
    CindyLou
    19th Apr 2016
    9:04am
    That's so nice - my daughter is a hairdresser, wages are so low and I know she truly appreciates tips - as well it's a positive and very thoughtful gesture.
    margw5
    18th Apr 2016
    11:53am
    If it's good service at a cafe or restaurant, I tip, no matter how well known or otherwise the establishment is. A compilment and a smile to go with it is also appreciated.
    My late mum always used to tip thehairdressers, as a lot older ladies still do, I notice. My mum also used to give a little box of chocolates at Christmas to some of the ladies who worked in the dept.stores she shopped in.

    18th Apr 2016
    12:31pm
    I will tip only for exceptional service, and only to someone who is clearly not already earning well.

    I hate tip jars. They are an unwelcome imposition.

    Because of the appalling wage structures in the leader of the free world, I will tip in the US, but I find it incredibly confusing to guess when and how much.
    Brue
    18th Apr 2016
    1:04pm
    Here in Australia ,we have penalty rates along with a fairly good hourly rate compared to over seas. If the service was good I don't mind leaving a few dollars. But lets not bring in compulsery tipping. If Malcolm Turnbull has his way and does away with penalty rates, then tipping may come inti vogue. I agree tipping in America was very annoying.
    MICK
    18th Apr 2016
    1:12pm
    This government is after penalty rates and entitlements. This is what we will have if this government wins the next election and controls the senate.
    Ayin
    18th Apr 2016
    1:04pm
    Occasionally when dining one meets waitstaff that who through their own enthusiasm and dedication upgrade a mere dinner to an overwhelming dining experience, through sheer going the extra mile sets them above all others. These people I reward with a generous tip, not for the service but for the experience. Money cannot by a memory?
    Anonymous
    18th Apr 2016
    2:41pm
    Money certainly CAN bUy a memory - that of the serving staff. Do you not think they will remember you should you return?
    Eugie
    18th Apr 2016
    2:46pm
    The wait staff in Australia get paid for what they do without needing customers to leave tips. I was born and raised in the US and waited on tables during my college (uni) days. The customers pay part of the waiters/waitresses' salary. We do not need that here. It's not only wait staff who expect tips - hairdressers (and the juniors who wash your hair), taxi-drivers, nail salon staff, parking lot attendants, staff in ladies rooms in fancy restaurants who hand you a paper towel and open the cubicle door for you, just to mention a few. (And, no, I did not make that last one up!) No tipping in Australia, please!
    bandy
    18th Apr 2016
    2:54pm
    Where I live I tip the restaurant & bar staff their monthly wages are between $80 to $120 American dollars a month,never tip in Australia.
    Sundays
    18th Apr 2016
    3:11pm
    I rarely tip except for a meal in a smart restaurant. The staff are all on an award an my view is why tip staff in a cafe, but not those who work at the supermarket?
    Polly Esther
    18th Apr 2016
    3:16pm
    Never on a Sunday and never in Australia, unless you really want to for some reason.
    Yes, go ahead and be an individual and occasionally say "keep the change"
    Who knows? it may make somebodies day.
    jamesmn
    18th Apr 2016
    3:17pm
    no tipping in Australia it does not offer the same sort of service like you get o'seas to tipp the service and what you are getting has to be first class which it is not in Australia so they don't deserve to be tipped.
    Anonymous
    18th Apr 2016
    4:58pm
    Too true.
    sidney70
    18th Apr 2016
    4:38pm
    No No No No No tipping in Australia please. We do not want to go down the American, European, UK Path. It takes the edge of a good holiday.
    Ellen
    18th Apr 2016
    4:54pm
    no, no, no, no, to tipping. I hate looking for coins in my purse and never have what i want to give. Why tip in expensive restaurants, they are expensive enough anyway. And yes, living often abroad to family, it is a nuisance with the tipping. In Canada, prices for fast food are displayed without VAT, not to take about tips. And what is the VAT here, excuse me? Before one can make a decision.
    I believe tips are not necessary with our minimum wages.

    18th Apr 2016
    5:00pm
    A GOOD tip is not to re-elect the current government.
    In Outer Orbit
    18th Apr 2016
    6:24pm
    The world's average salary is US$1,480 (£928) a month. That's in PPP terms, for global comparison.

    Most of humanity is serving rather than served.

    If you're lucky enough to be among the served, why not just be grateful that you can afford to share a little.
    Macca
    18th Apr 2016
    8:21pm
    I have travelled overseas quiet a bit over many years and i am used to tipping and getting good service.I usually round up to nearest $5 or 10%.I practice the same in Aust at clubs etc if and mostly when I get good service.I now drive a taxi part time and try to give a great service and I appreciate when someone gives me a tip .Whether it be 50 cents from a pensioner or more from others on a busy night.If someone doesn't tip I still provide the same service.More often than not I can make Quite a bit per week with $1 here per job.When I go out I use the same Principle and more often than not I get the great service especially on the cruise ships.Thats my philosophy and it works.As a taxi driver you can make anywhere between $8 hr somenights to $30 plus hr on good nights so tips are appreciated. Macca
    Macca
    18th Apr 2016
    8:37pm
    To Fast Eddie a good tip for you is to look forward and not backward to the dark Rudd/Gillard/Shorten days.Its a matter of the less of evils.Labour will never encourage small business or investment. Turnbulls a worry because he is pretty close to lab politics.Who ever wins I think I might cash up and not invest here in Aust.Might try go on newstart and let grandkids worry about debt?? Tongue in cheek.Macca
    Anonymous
    18th Apr 2016
    8:54pm
    I wouldn't vote for either after what they have done to the country. Talent in the political arena is almost non-existent. My bet is on the newcomers, the MAP, an outsider and still not tried. The other nags are just that.i won't be a fool again with either one of them.
    Mike
    19th Apr 2016
    8:42pm
    If wages are so NOTORIOSLY low in the US and Canada, then WHY are the prices so HIGH?
    I was disgusted to find food prices very high in the US and Canada, and then was expected to pay a gratuity and TAX on top of it. Maybe we should as why they don't pay wages in the US
    Anonymous
    21st Apr 2016
    10:43am
    Charging gratuity is dishonest. Cruise lines are notorious for it. They advertise a fare, then add 15% ''gratuity''. In other words, they LIE about the fare. It's misrepresentation, and it SHOULD be illegal.

    It's past time the populace in ALL countries demanded honesty and fair wages and returned to a time when tipping was a completely voluntary method of acknowledging service that goes above and beyond expectation and encourages better service.
    Julian
    22nd Apr 2016
    12:37pm
    Rainey, the 15% is an optional add on for receipted purchase. You don't have to oblige their request. Even for american ships operating in Australian waters it is expected, which may seem like profiteering. These go toward the unseen staff who literally work like slaves. Some earn as little as just over $1 an hr. On top of that, a prominent cruise company adds a token charge of $12 US per person per day.Then convert it at the shitty rate they give you on the ship.. This adds up.

    They pay their workers poorly, then guilt you into supplementing their wages. Google cruise ship salaries. You'll be shocked!!

    21st Apr 2016
    10:45am
    I went to a Brisbane restaurant once where the staff, in taking credit card payment, wrote a 15% tip on the bottom of the authorization slip. After a couple of wines and focused on good company, my partner missed seeing it. We will NEVER dine there again and we have cautioned everyone we know NEVER to go there. It's THEFT, and it's UNACCEPTABLE.

    Patrons should refuse to pay gratuity and demand that wages be increased and prices advertised honestly. Tips are fine when entirely voluntary and only to acknowledge excellent service.
    Magic Touch
    6th Oct 2018
    12:05pm
    I go for a short break holiday with my wife, as my wife ask for a tour with a company that can speak cantònese will be good so I look for a company that can speak contonese. It was promise to go wìth a big touris bus but it was a 10 people van, and speaking bow tong gua not cantonese. At the end of the tour in the bush near a dairy farm the van stop and the driver or tour guid demand each person to pay 5 dollars as tips before he take us back. For the 2 days tour only over night which is already rip off in the motel by the company and the company say tips is not his bussiness. It,s not the money We are not happy it the service & promese.


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