Give us a call on 0117 379 0818

Is your uniform policy doing more damage than good?

Are your staff being unpaid due to your uniform policy?

Most jobs will require their staff to wear a uniform; particularly if you are based in the hospitality, catering and retail sector. However, did you know that if you, as a business, do not provide the uniform, then you could be in breach of the Minimum wage for that pay period.

To avoid staff being unpaid, the uniform should always be provided, or the cost covered. Staff can pay for items but should be refunded by the employer, and the costs incurred should be considered when calculating the minimum wage. Items which should be paid for by the employer include:

  • Tools
  • Uniform
  • Safety Equipment

Do I implement a uniform?

A uniform is something that you require your employees to wear for their job; this can include stipulating the colour of clothing. If you say that employee must wear black clothing, then in their first few shifts they might be being underpaid.

How are my employees being underpaid?

Below are the current minimum wage rates in accordance to law:

Employee age:






From April 2017






From April 2018






If a staff member (aged 23) is paid weekly and works 20 hours a week at minimum wage; in their first week, they would earn £141. The staff member works for a bar and has been required to wear black clothes; they have had to pay out £40 for new clothes as they didn’t own anything suitable.  This means they would have earned (£141 - £40 = £101) or £5.05/hour, considerably lower than the minimum wage.

What can I do?

Ideally, the uniform should be provided for all staff – but this can be an expensive method or difficult to manage should you have a lot of casual or temporary staff.

Repaying staff for uniforms may be a more flexible option if you do employee a lot of casual or temporary staff, and find yourself with a high staff turnover. It is important to set boundaries when implementing this, ensuring they are given a budget.

If you need advice on staff uniforms and how they can impact the wages of your employees, contact us on 01173790818.