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Can I deduct the cost of replacement uniforms from employees paycheck?

Evanston, IL |

If a part-time minimum wage employee damages a uniform shirt they've already been given can I charge them for the replacement?

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Attorney answers 2


There are two considerations here: first is federal law and second is state law.

"Federal law allows employers to deduct the cost of supplying and maintaining a uniform (for example, having it cleaned and pressed) from an employee's paycheck, as long as the employee's wages after the deduction don't fall below the minimum wage. If an employee earns the minimum wage, the employer may not require the employee to pay for a uniform, through payroll deductions or otherwise."

I would read the DOL's Fact Sheet #16 - "Deductions from Wages for Uniforms and other Facilities under the Fair Labor and Standards Act"

However, according to the Illinois Department of Labor, "An employer cannot deduct money from your pay for case or inventory shortages or damages to property or equipment, or for a uniform unless you sign an express written agreement allowing for the deduction at the time the deduction is made."

I hope that information helps. Without a complete understanding of the situation, I can't give you a "yes" or "no" answer but those links should point you in the right direction. You should always feel free to contact your state department of labor and ask them for assistance.


My thoughts and comments are for general information only. The do not constitute legal advice and they should not relied upon as such. My thoughts and comments do not form an attorney-client relationship--I am not your attorney. Please seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any acts based upon my thoughts and comments or the comments of others.

L. Maxwell Taylor

L. Maxwell Taylor


An extremely careful and thorough answer, counsel. Outstanding.

Tyson B. Snow

Tyson B. Snow


Thank you Mr. Taylor.


As a minimum wage earner part time did you sign an agreement in writing that you are to pay for cleaning and uniform upkeep?

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