Does my employer have to pay for my uniform?

If you work in an office, you need to pay for your own clothing but you’re not running the risk of damaging it when you type, talk and drink coffee. That’s not the same for those who work a manual job. If you’re asking: does my employer have to pay for my uniform? you’ve come to the right place for advice.

Legal rules

Most employers provide their workers with uniforms free of charge because they provide a corporate image and they guarantee a certain level of presentation. Those things are particularly important when you’re working in a customer facing role such as retail or sales. The bad news for employees is that there’s no legislation that makes the employer pay for the uniform so they can pass the charges onto you.

Personal Protective Equipment

The only exception in terms of legal requirements comes when your job necessitates Personal Protective Equipment. Legally your firm can’t make you pay for those items of clothing. If you’re not sure what that includes, the legal definition of PPE is: “all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person or work which protects him against one or more risks to his health or safety.” This means that gloves, high-vis jackets, safety glasses, goggles and helmets have to be provided free of charge.

Other items of clothing

There’s nothing to stop your firm from charging for other items of clothing. The government guidelines suggest that employers take care not to overcharge their employees or to ask them to buy several sets of clothing from approved retailers, particularly if they’re on a minimum wage. If your firm doesn’t look for payment from you, they’ll want you to take care of the garments so that they can be returned in good order when your employment ends.

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