July 31, 2008
US Department of Labor Issues Opinion Letter on Uniforms, Payroll Deductions
Filed under: News
Vision Payroll

The US Department of Labor recently issued Administrator signed Opinion Letter FLSA2008-4. Although Opinion Letters only apply to the exact set of facts and circumstances presented in each case, they are a valuable aid in understanding current interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This Opinion Letter discusses whether a requirement to wear a certain type of shoe constitutes a uniform. It also discusses whether the employer is allowed to deduct a portion of the cost of the shoes from the employee’s pay, even if such deduction causes the employee’s pay rate to be below minimum wage. In this case, the employer “requires employees to wear ‘dark-colored’ shoes without prescribing any particular quality, brand, style, model, or type.” Optionally, an employee may purchase such shoes from a vendor through a program administered by the employer that allows the employee to elect to have the employer pay the cost of the shoes and deduct the cost from the employee’s paycheck. Since the employer’s only requirements were the color and that the shoes have non-slip soles and not be open-toed, they were not considered to be part of a uniform. Also, as the shoes were not part of a uniform and the employer did not deduct more than the actual cost of the shoes, the shoes can be considered “other facilities” furnished by the employer and therefore part of the wages paid the employee. State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about this Opinion Letter.


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