DOL Issues Reminder on Uniforms

The U.S. Department of Labor today reminded employers that while they can charge employees for the cost of uniforms that they require employees to wear on the job, they are prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act from taking credit for such items in meeting their obligations toward paying minimum wages and overtime wages.

The cost and maintenance of a uniform required by law, the nature of the business, or by the employer is considered to be a business expense of the employer, the DOL said in a tweet issued as part of the #Know Your Rights Campaign.

Thus, if the employer requires the employee to bear the cost, it may not reduce the employee’s wage below the minimum wage–$7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Nor may that cost cut into overtime compensation required by the FLSA

The employer is allowed to prorate deductions for the cost of the uniform over a period of paydays as long as the prorated deductions do not reduce the employee’s wages below the required minimum wage or overtime compensation in any workweek.

The tweet included a link to a 2009 DOL publication,  Fact Sheet #16: Deductions From Wages for Uniforms and Other Facilities Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which explains these rules in further detail.

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