Minimum Wage – Be Smart When it Comes to Dress Codes

Compliance with National Minimum Wage regulations presents a number of challenges for the hospitality sector, one of which is around uniforms. In this blog post, Raoul Parekh and Richard Harvey from employment law firm GQ|Littler look at why this presents such a challenge
Looking good on a budget has a special meaning in the hospitality industry. Staff wages are often at or around national minimum wage (NMW) and what they spend on work clothes to comply with a uniform or dress code must be subtracted from their wages before checking minimum wage compliance. So, if you insist on a dress code, you risk pushing people below the minimum wage threshold and being in breach of the regulations.

The biggest danger is where you require staff to hire a specific uniform or to wear particular brands, which may be relatively expensive. However, the rules apply even if you just ask them to wear black jeans and a white T-shirt. You have to leave a “buffer” to avoid getting caught out, but how big should it be?

Unfortunately, HMRC has no real advice on this point, but it’s reasonable to assume that it won’t expect you to allow for designer gear. The best approach is probably to be explicit (for example in your employment contracts) about how much you expect your employees to spend on hiring or buying their work clothes, and to make sure that they will still be paid above the minimum wage threshold once that amount is deducted.

If the employee is hiring their uniform from you, Fourth makes it easy to track their payments and anticipate any problems. This is especially important if they work fewer hours one week, which risks pushing them back under the NMW threshold.

This is one of a few challenges we’ve outlined in the National Living Wage guide which we’ve created with Fourth.

Your subscription has been confirmed and you've been added to our newsletter list.

Christmas 2022: Is the ‘Golden Quarter’ at risk of losing its shine?
The Hospitality Workforce Report – Confronting the cost-of-living crisis
Overlooking modern HR technologies can seriously impact retail businesses

Recent Posts

NEW Fourth eClock
An accurate, affordable, reliable time & attendance app
Discover more