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Employment Law/employer mandated uniform costs

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Question
I work as a highway contract mail carrier and the USPS is requiring us to purchase shirts that designate us as such.
 My question is, Are we required to pay for them or does the Postal service have to pay?
 If they require us to buy them, do we get reimbursed?

 I am located in the State of Arizona

Answer
Arizona law does not require that employers pay for uniforms or special clothing, even when the employer mandates that apparel. Some employers might pay for such items, figuring that it’s better for employee relations and morale. The law also varies from state to state, as some states require that employers pay. But in Arizona the employer is not legally obligated to pay.

You may take some comfort in the fact that employees may be able claim the cost of uniforms or other special apparel as a deduction on their federal income tax returns.

A private company operating in Arizona may require its employees to wear uniforms, such as specific color or style scrubs bearing company logos. Employers also may lawfully require their Arizona employees to pay for the uniforms. However, your employer may not deduct the cost of your uniform from your paycheck without your written consent.

Your employer also may not deduct the cost of the uniform from your wages if the deduction would cause you to earn less than the applicable minimum wage for each hour you work up to 40 hours in a workweek, currently $7.80 an hour in Arizona, or if the deduction would cause you to earn less than the applicable overtime wage, 1˝-times your regular rate of pay, for hours you work in excess of 40 hours per workweek.

Consider the following example: If your job pays $8 an hour, you work 40 hours in the workweek and your required uniform costs $10. Your employer could not deduct more than $8 from your weekly wages, even with your permission, in order to ensure that you earn at least the minimum wage for each hour worked.

Because you would still owe your employer $2 for the cost of the scrubs, your employer could deduct the $2 balance from your following workweek’s wages as long as by doing so the deduction does not reduce your hourly rate below the applicable minimum wage

Shirley  

Employment Law

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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR

Expertise

I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Experience

30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

Organizations
SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

Education/Credentials
PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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