Adopt a Uniform Policy on Uniforms

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Minnesota Employment Law on What Employees Can Pay For

We are all trying to cut costs and reduce spending these days. For employers whose employees wear a uniform, requiring the employees to pay for them can seem like a simple, yet cost-effective way to cut down on costs. But adopting such a policy wouldn’t be much of a cost-saver if it were in violation of Minnesota law and would expose the employer to potential fines and fees down the road. What does Minnesota law say about this?

Minnesota Statute 181.79 is the law that we have to look at for the answer to this question. The law is clear: employers may not require their employees to pay for uniforms. The statute states that employers can deduct from an employee’s wages for faulty workmanship, loss, theft, damage to property or “other claimed indebtedness running from the employee to the employer.” It talks about a loss and about an employee reimbursing the employer for such loss. A uniform would not be considered a loss.

Furthermore, it is very important to note that deductions cannot be taken from an employee’s wages unless he or she has given written authorization to the employer to do so. The written authorization must be signed after the loss has taken place.

So in a nutshell, deducations can be made and an employee can be made to pay for things like:

  • breaking company property
  • stealing company property
  • poor workmanship that cost the company money to replace or repair

BUT, the deductions can be made only if the employee authorizes the deductions in writing after the loss, damage or theft took place.

Deducting for anything else, such as uniforms, and doing so without written authorization, can leave you open to investigations by the Department of Labor, fines and attorney’s fees. Any questions about what you can or can’t do? Give us a call.





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