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Massachusetts Law About Employee Uniforms

Massachusetts Regulations

455 CMR 2.01 and 2.04(2). (a) Where uniforms require dry-cleaning, commercial laundering, or other special treatment, the employee shall be reimbursed for the actual costs of such service to the extent that these costs reduce the employee's hourly rate below the basic minimum wage. Where uniforms are made of "wash and wear" materials, that do not require special treatment, and that are routinely washed and dried with other personal garments, the employer need not reimburse the employee for uniform maintenance costs. (b) No deposit shall be required by the employer from an employee for a uniform or for any other purpose, except by permission of the Director.

Massachusetts Cases

Camara v. Attorney General, 458 Mass. 756 (2011). Because this decision limits the ability of employers to deduct from wages owed and was not limited to situations where the deduction would reduce the employee's wages below the minimum wage threshold, the Department of Labor Standards rescinded its opinion letter on deductions from wages for uniform maintenance.

Other Web Sources

Fact Sheet #16: Deductions from Wages for Uniforms and Other Facilities Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), US Dept. of Labor. "If the wearing of a uniform is required by some other law, the nature of a business, or by an employer, the cost and maintenance of the uniform is considered to be a business expense of the employer. If the employer requires the employee to bear the cost, it may not reduce the employee's wage below the minimum wage or cut into overtime compensation required by the Act."

Uniform Deposit Waiver Policy, Mass. Dept. of Labor Division of Occupational Safety. Explains the "standards that will be applied by the Director in determining whether a request by an employer for a Uniform Deposit Waiver will be granted." See also, Application for Uniform Deposit Waiver.