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Special clothing and equipment required at work

Special clothing

Special clothing is specific clothing that an employer requires workers to wear at work. For example, black pants. A uniform is also a type of special clothing. An employer who requires staff to wear special clothing must provide it free of charge to any members of staff who are paid the minimum wage.

An employer may ask a worker who is paid more than the minimum wage to pay for the purchase or upkeep of the clothing. After paying these expenses, their wages must be equal to or higher than the minimum wage. They must always be paid at least the minimum wage once clothing expenses have been deducted. The employer must obtain the worker’s written authorization to make this deduction from their pay.

Example

Kym works in a restaurant and has to wear a black sweater at work. She earns $13.70 (the minimum wage has been $13.50 an hour since May 1, 2021). Her employer may not deduct more than $0.20 an hour ($13.70 – $13.50 = $0.20) for the cost of the purchase or upkeep of her black sweater. The deduction must be made over a period that is long enough to cover the full payment of the item of clothing, for otherwise she would be paid less than the minimum wage.

In the case of clothing that is clearly identified with the company, such as a jacket with a logo, an employer must provide it free of charge to all workers, irrespective of their wages. Any item of clothing with a company logo must be provided free of charge.

An employer may not require staff to purchase clothing or accessories that are items in their trade, even if they offer them at a better price.

Material, equipment or merchandise that is required at work

An employer who requires staff to use material, equipment (such as tools), raw materials or merchandise at work must provide them free of charge to staff who are paid the minimum wage.

If a member of staff is paid more than the minimum wage, an employer may ask them to pay for their material or equipment. After paying these expenses, their wages must be equal to or higher than the minimum wage. The employer must obtain the worker’s written authorization to make this deduction from their pay.

Laws and regulations

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