Uniforms

More employers are asking workers to wear uniforms or stick to a unified dress code at work.

The uniform can be part of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as helmets, goggles and protective gloves, or it might have a more aesthetic purpose such as maximising brand awareness or creating an image of equality and unity among workers.

Employers should communicate the dress code to staff and ensure it doesn’t violate their rights.

Benefits of uniforms

When requiring employees to wear a uniform on the job, employers usually provide at least one set of uniforms each year free of charge.

Adhering to the same dress code can bring many benefits to the business:

  • Enhances the business image.
  • Makes it easy for customers to identify employees.
  • Prevents employees from dressing unprofessionally.
  • Protect employees from damaging their personal clothes at work.
  • Protects and keeps employees safe.

Main considerations

Asking employees to dress appropriately and to ensure their safety is within the employer’s rights. However, employers should pay attention to considerations related to age, gender, sexual orientation, belief systems and disability as outlined in the Equality Act 2010.

Keeping that in mind, employers should ensure the dress code policy:

  • Does not discriminate against any group.
  • Equally applies to both men and women.
  • Includes reasonable adjustments for people with disability.
  • Adheres to the nature of the job focusing on health and safety standards.
  • Employers should ensure uniforms are non-discriminatory and serve a purpose in the workplace.

What if an employee doesn’t follow the dress code

In cases where an employee refuses to adhere to the dress code policy, the employer can discuss the matter with them in private.

Listening to the employee’s explanation is important, but if an employer is not convinced, they can give the employee time to comply with the company policy. Failing to do so, the employee can face disciplinary action.

Summary

Uniforms are a great way to promote the brand and convey a sense of unity among employees. If the uniform is not part of PPE, an employer might ask employees to pay for the uniform provided to them by the company. However, employers should be reasonable about the cost.

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