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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Deductions and payments from workers: uniforms

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

For pay reference periods commencing

* on or after 6 April 2015; National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015, regulations 12 & 13
* before 6 April 2015; National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999, regulations 31, 32, 33, 34 & 35

Required uniforms

As a condition of employment an employer may require workers to wear specific uniforms. If the employer requires the worker to purchase specific items, such as overalls, then any deductions made from pay or payments made to the employer in respect of those items will always reduce national minimum wage pay.

If a worker makes a payment to a third party for required uniforms the payment will also reduce national minimum wage pay since it is expenditure incurred in connection with the worker’s employment, see NMWM11170.

Optional uniforms

Where a uniform is not required or where a worker freely chooses to pay for additional items of uniform (over and above the dress requirements of the employment), any payment to the employer or a third party will not reduce national minimum wage pay. The worker can also arrange to purchase optional items from a third party and ask their employer to deduct the cost from their pay and pay the third party on their behalf. The deduction will not reduce the worker’s national minimum wage pay.

Example 1: If a hairdresser requires the workers to wear a tee shirt with the shop’s logo which are purchased from the employer. The purchase (either by payment to the employer or deduction from the worker’s pay) will reduce national minimum wage pay.

Example 2: If the worker in example 1 freely chooses to purchase an additional branded tee shirt from the employer, this is NOT then a requirement of the job. So, a payment for the item would not reduce national minimum wage pay, however a deduction from the worker’s pay would still reduce their national minimum wage pay.

Example 3: A hairdresser requires workers to wear a uniform consisting of any black trousers and any white tee shirt. Workers can purchase these from any shop. The cost of purchasing these items will reduce national minimum wage pay, since it is a specific requirement imposed on the worker by the employer.

If an employer provides a uniform, any charge the employer makes for ordinary wear and tear to that uniform will reduce the worker’s national minimum wage pay. However, if the worker damages the uniform, loses it or does not return it at the end of the employment (NMWM11160), the charge will not reduce national minimum wage pay, provided:

  • the damage, loss or non return is a result of the worker’s misconduct and
  • the charge is the result of a contractual requirement.

Example 4: A worker is required to wear an employer supplied uniform. His contract states he must return the uniform if he leaves the employment and if he does not, the cost will be deducted from his final pay. If the worker fails to return the uniform as required, the deduction will not reduce national minimum wage pay since it is contractual deduction relating to conduct (NMWM11060).

  ## Deduction by employer ## Payment from worker to employer ## Payment from worker to third party
       
Employer requires uniform Reduces national minimum wage pay Reduces national minimum wage pay Reduces national minimum wage pay
No uniform requirement Reduces national minimum wage pay (unless paid to a third party - see end column) Does not reduce national minimum wage pay Does not reduce national minimum wage pay