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Can we deduct uniform costs from paychecks?

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in Compensation and Benefits,HR Management,Human Resources

Q. We require new employees to buy their top uniform from a uniform company. The uniforms vary depending on the position and have the company’s logo on them. The uniform typically costs between $20 and $45 and is a smock, polo shirt or vest. The employees can deduct that amount from their paychecks or pay for it by personal check or credit card. As the HR manager, I take care of this process for them. Is this procedure legal under Texas law? —D.S.

A. Yes, so long as two requirements are met: First, assuming the employees are nonexempt, the amount that employees have to pay for uniforms in any pay period can’t bring their hourly rate below the minimum wage, which is currently $5.15 (but likely to change in the next Congress). Second, if the payment is being made by paycheck deduction, you must have a written authorization to do so in order to be in compliance with the Texas Payday Act.   

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