Uniform Compliance

by Deborah Z Mark


Does your company require employees to wear uniforms?

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Labor considers the cost and maintenance of uniforms to be a business expense of the employer?

That’s right.

The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) does not allow uniforms, or any other items which are considered to be primarily for the benefit or convenience of the employer, to be included as wages.

That means any payroll deductions for uniform costs may not bring the employee below minimum wage, and cannot cut into overtime compensation.


Arizona’s minimum wage is $7.90 per hour.  If an employee is paid $8.00 per hour and works 40 hours (earning gross wages of $320), the employer may not legally deduct anything more than $4.00 from the employee’s pay for uniforms (10 cents times 40 hours).

Employers may prorate deductions over a period of time, but the wages may not be reduced below minimum wage.

If employees must reimburse or pay employers for other items, the same rules apply.

What deductions are for the benefit of the employer?

The following are some examples of deductions considered to be for the benefit of the employer:

  • Tools
  • Property damage
  • Financial loss due to clients/customers not paying bills
  • Cash drawer shortages
  • Theft of employer’s property

What about employee negligence?

What if it was unintentional?

Good question!

The same rules apply.  No deductions below minimum wage.

Now you know.

Give managestaff a call.  We’ll answer your payroll deduction questions. 

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