Employee Uniform-Related Expenses

November 11, 2013

Reimbursement for Uniform and Uniform-Related Expenses

Employee Uniform Expenses and MaintenanceMany employees have various job-related expenses for which they pay out of pocket.  Typically, employers are required to reimburse employees for their work-related expenses.  One common out-of-pocket cost incurred by employees is for uniforms and uniform maintenance.  When employers require employees to wear a uniform for work, there are special protections for employees who have to purchase and upkeep their uniforms as a condition of employment.

Uniforms and Uniform Maintenance Under Federal Law

Under federal law, if an employee is required to buy and maintain their uniform, the cost of the uniform and uniform maintenance must not cut into the employee’s minimum wage and overtime pay.  Although employers are not typically required to reimburse for uniform maintenance, such as simple washing and drying, employers are required to reimburse employees for uniform maintenance costs related to special cleaning or treatments, such as dry cleaning, ironing, or commercial washing.

California Law Regarding Uniforms and Uniform Maintenance 

Unlike federal law, under California labor law, employers must provide and maintain uniforms worn by nonexempt employees as a condition of employment, regardless of the amount of the employee’s compensation.

When uniforms are required as a condition of employment, the two most significant issues are who must buy the uniform and who must maintain the uniform.  Typically, an employer must provide employees with a required uniform unless the uniform is generally usable in the industry, such as white shirts and dark pants.  An employer must also reimburse for uniform maintenance costs when an employee’s uniform requires special laundering because of heavy soilage or usage, or if it requires dry cleaning, ironing, or repairs.

Have you been reimbursed properly for workplace expenses?

Gibbs Law Group LLP is currently investigating reports of employees not obtaining proper reimbursements for their workplace expenses. To speak with an employment lawyer, please fill out the form to the right or call toll-free (866) 981-4800.