There are many reasons employers issue employee uniform agreements. The purposes and benefits of uniforms include building team unity, creating brand awareness, fostering professionalism among employees, positively influencing performance and productivity, clearly defining dress guidelines and (in certain environments) ensuring the safety and protection of employees.
An employee uniform agreement clearly defines the company policies about work-appropriate clothing and employee appearance and what is expected as a workplace standard. This ensures employees completely understand both the rules and consequences regarding wearing a uniform as well as what the uniform means to the company.
Specifics of the Employee Uniform Agreement
First things first: the appropriate clothing for uniforms must be selected by the employer. Depending on the industry or line of work, different clothing items may need to be included as part of the uniform. If an employee is working where there is risk of injury, certain uniforms may be required for compliance. Before drafting an employee uniform agreement, it is important to be aware of all the uniform conditions that must be met.
After proper clothing has been identified for uniforms, an employee uniform agreement can be drafted. The agreement should include the following four items:
An employer must consider what they want the agreement to achieve. For instance, uniforms make a first impression on customers and represent the company brand. In some industries, uniforms must adhere to certain laws, rules and/or guidelines.
The purpose of the employee uniform agreement is to clearly outline the uniform policy as well as the rules and terms for it, including those regarding personal appearance and the overall maintenance of the uniform. The document must also include the consequences for breaching the agreement. This is a contractual document that covers the uniform and its use in its entirety.
The best course of action for implementing and enforcing the agreement will need to be considered when drafting the application portion. Keep in mind that what is required of the employer and employee may change depending on the industry. The employer must decide which uniform items to select and then determine what is required to be provided. In some workplaces, the employer must provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and other uniform items in compliance with safety requirements. Uniforms that differ based on the job duties of each employee help customers know whom to approach. Consider the following example:
You are waiting for your car while it is serviced at a mechanic’s shop. If you want to discuss the specifics of the car’s maintenance, you should approach an employee in grease-stained coveralls. This uniform clearly distinguishes the employee as a mechanic. In contrast, an individual inside the office who is wearing a clean company polo and slacks is possibly a manager; therefore, any problems or concerns regarding payment or customer service should be discussed with them.
The application of the employee uniform agreement will cover who must wear a specified style of uniform and the consequences for failure to meet the outlined uniform requirements. It is critical to take into consideration any condition that may prevent an employee from adhering to the guidelines of the agreement. If an employee has religious requirements that prevent them from adhering to the agreement, adjustments must be made. Other things to consider are illnesses, allergies or disabilities that may prohibit employees from fully complying with the employee uniform agreement.
Outline all guidelines that need to be observed, such as the overall responsibility for the uniform (e.g., who will be purchasing, maintaining and laundering the uniforms) and protocol for uniform returns.
Aside from the fact that many employers require uniforms to be worn, many also assume that the cost of the uniform can be passed on to the employee. This is not the case. The Fair Labor Standards Act does allow for uniform deductions but only if they do not reduce the employee’s hourly pay below minimum wage.
Specifics for financial responsibility will need to be clearly outlined. If an employee purchases their own required uniform, a “uniform allowance” is generally provided by the employer to reimburse them. Another option is that the employer provides the uniform free of charge to employees. It is advised that employers remain aware of state laws and review federal laws when writing guidelines about financial responsibility for uniforms.
This section of the agreement is critical in communicating the expectations for financial responsibility, reimbursement procedures, costs and inventory. The agreement may also include a section to help track uniform distribution. This is done by recording a description of each uniform article, the date distributed and quantity.
The policy will be the contractual documentation that covers the uniform and its use. Statements describing the wearing of the uniform and what is expected from employees regarding the uniform will be included in the policy.
The policy may also include statements clarifying whether the uniform is considered employer property and, if so, what will happen in the event of the uniform not being returned. The agreement includes giving permission to the employer to deduct the cost of any item that is unreturned.
The guidelines, application and purpose of the agreement are all considered part of what the employee agrees to when they sign the policy agreement. Together, these components constitute the Employee Uniform Agreement.
An Employee Uniform Agreement sample template can be found below.
Contact Alsco about your uniform needs.
https://smallbusiness.chron.com/uniform-influence-performance-workers-36356.html. Small Business – Chron.
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/pay-administration/fact-sheets/uniform-allowances/. U.S. Department of Personnel Management.
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/16-flsa-wage-deductions. U.S. Department of Labor. (2013).
https://www.hrsource.org/maimis/Members/Articles/2018/05/May_15/Uniforms___the_FLSA.aspx. HR Source. (May 2018).
https://www.insightsforprofessionals.com/hr/leadership/how-to-choose-uniforms-for-employees. Insights for Professionals. (March 2019).
Employee Uniform Agreement
Each new employee will be issued the listed uniform items documented below.
Uniforms may differ within the company based on the position for which you have been hired. [Include details for what is required to be worn for the specific position here.]
Uniforms are provided at no cost to you [make necessary changes here if a uniform allowance is provided or if the specifics of cost are different]. Uniforms are considered company property. Upon issuance, uniforms become the responsibility of the employee but owned by [Company Name].
You agree that, as an employee of [Company Name], you will wear the designated uniform declared here and represent the company brand by upholding a professional image. A professional image includes the following: [include specifics here, such as proper personal hygiene, neutral makeup and hair color, covering of tattoos unless this conflicts with religious beliefs and clean and well-maintained facial hair.].
By signing, you agree to the following policy regarding uniforms:
- Uniforms will be kept neat, clean and in good condition at all times.
- Employees are responsible for the proper maintenance, laundering and care of these items. This includes laundering the uniform regularly.
- If the uniform needs to be replaced owing to normal wear and tear, the company will replace it at no expense to the employee.
- If anything outside of normal wear and tear results in the need for a replacement, the replacement will be at the employee’s expense. Additionally, excessive damage to or loss of company uniforms may result in disciplinary action. Payroll deductions may be arranged to cover replacement cost.
- If an employee would like additional uniforms issued, please bring this to the attention of [Name of Contact].
- During the course of employment, all uniforms will remain the property of [Company Name]
- Upon termination of employment, or upon management request, uniforms are expected to be returned in a reasonable state and in their entirety.
- If the employee does not return the complete set, [Company Name] reserves the right to withhold a portion of the employee’s final pay [dependent upon whether your state allows such deductions].
Failure to adhere to any of the guidelines or the policy listed above will be followed by disciplinary action and possible termination of employment.
If employees have questions regarding this policy or its implementation, they should contact [Name of Contact].
|Item||Quantity||Cost Per Item||Date Issued||Signature of Recipient|
|[e.g., white company polo]||||[$20]||[9/5/2021]|
By signing below, I verify that I was given the uniform items listed, and I understand and agree to all the policies outlined in this document.
Employee Name (please print)