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Pay for uniform-Change time if job requires it

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Q. Do we have to pay employees for the time they spend changing into their uniforms before work (and out of their uniforms afterward)? We're a hospital and our operating-room personnel must change clothes. —E.T., Maryland

A. The rule is different for union and nonunion employers. For nonunion employers, time spent changing clothes is compensable whenever the changing is required by either the employer or the nature of the work. If employees change clothes before or after work for their own convenience, you don't have to pay for the changing time.

In unionized workplaces, employers aren't required to pay for clothes-changing time even if it's necessary for the job if the exclusion is established by a past practice or a collective- bargaining agreement.

In your case, you say your hospital requires clothes-changing for some employees. Unless the unionized workplace rules apply, this time must be counted as compensable. Finally, remember that some state wage-and-hour laws may have slightly different rules.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Annom May 23, 2015 at 11:05 pm

I also am interested in this from a MI law standpoint. I work in a food facility and we don’t get paid for chanting into or out of our white uniforms. When we first get into the building we put on a hair and beard net (if you have visible hair). Then get our uniforms (that we pay to have laundered) from our provided locker. After that we change into white pants and white shirts (that we can’t take home to change into / aka we must change on the job) [Although they reworded it in the “handbook” that we were just if anyone actually did I know they’d be fired and they’ve said before you can’t take them home]. After changing you punch in and begin to receive compensated time. Same thing applies in reverse for undressing.

What I’d like to know is if this time is required by law to be compensated , and if we should be liable to pay for our uniform laundering costs?


Joanie February 3, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Is it a law in michigan if your employer requires staff to change before and after. Example; I work in at a surgery center as an circulating RN in the OR and my employer requires we change into their scrubs before and after. I’m scheduled to be at my station and ready to work by 630. I punch a time clock at 615-620 and only get paid for 630 time. Shouldn’t I be paid from time I clock in for change time?


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