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Employee uniform cost North Carolina

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  • Employee uniform cost North Carolina

    Our company requires employees to wear a uniform. (A costume, actually. We are a seasonal, weekends only, themed, special event.) We understand that passing the cost of the uniform on to the employee is only permissible if the minimum wage requirement is still met.
    We have never actually required employees to buy their costume, outright. We provide costumes for employee use. They sign costume pieces out, including an authorization to withhold from their pay should they fail to return them. They maintain them during our seasonal event, and then return them at the end of the season. The only time we have charged for the costume or costume piece was when an employee failed to return some or all of it when they left our employment. We stopped withholding from paychecks altogether for these costumes when we learned of the FLSA implications regarding minimum wage a few years ago. Because most of the positions are fairly low wage, and a paycheck is only for two workdays per week, there is basically never enough funds in a final paycheck to cover the cost of the costume and still leave a balance due that represents minimum wage.
    We have always been willing to provide use of a costume to our employees, at our own expense. Being seasonal weekend work, however, we have a high turn-over rate. Getting the costume pieces back once a worker leaves our company can be difficult. We’d rather have the costumes than the money, because having new ones made is expensive and, frankly, a pain in the butt.
    We are looking for alternatives. Would requiring a refundable deposit up front make any difference in the legality of the situation? It would seem that keeping the deposit could have the same implications, but is it justifiable then, if the amount of the deposit, spread over all the weekends the employee worked, still ensures they were paid minimum wage?

  • #2
    Somehow your thread got locked. I've unlocked it, and this will bump the thread so that someone who might have missed being able to answer due to the lock will see it again.

    Sorry, I don't know the answer myself.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      Your state is not my state, so no help there. Looking at federal law only, if hypothetically you pay people $10/hr, and MW is $7.25/hr, then under federal law you can pay MW ($7.25/HR) up front and then the balance later (less the cost of unreturned/damaged property). Perfectly legal under federal law. Any solution you come up with is going to look a lot like this.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


      • #4
        Thank you, cbg.


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