Is my employer allowed to deduct the cost of my uniform from my wages?

Not if doing so takes your average wages below the National Minimum Wage during each ‘pay reference period’. (The ‘pay reference period’ is a month if you are paid monthly, or if you are paid weekly, a week, or daily, a day. Your average hourly basic pay over this period must not be less than the National Minimum Wage). 

Any amount taken from wages to fund uniform, items of clothing, shoes or overalls that an employer requires staff to wear in connection with their work will be an unlawful breach of national minimum wage law if it takes pay below the National Minimum Wage threshold. This includes any branded fashion items that staff are required to buy at a discount and wear while working. 

Even assuming that your employer is meeting its obligations to pay the National Minimum Wage, your employer is not allowed to deduct the cost of clothing from your wages without a clear written contract term that allows them to do this. Otherwise your employer will make an unlawful deduction of wages, contrary to the Employment Rights Act 1996.           

In any event, you must not be charged anything for personal protective equipment (PPE), such as safety boots and helmets. PPE must be provided by your employer free of cost. 

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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