Common questions about uniforms

Expand/collapse all

  • Expand/collapse What kind of clothing is considered a "uniform" and must be paid for by the business?

    The business must pay the full cost of a "uniform." The business may not take money from wages or require a deposit from the worker for such a uniform. It is considered a uniform if the clothing the business requires workers to wear:

    • Clearly identifies the worker with that specific business.
    • Is specially marked with the business' logo.
    • Has an ethnic or historical theme. Examples:
      • A store requires Hawaiian shirts for a theme for a special sale.
      • A Mexican restaurant requires clothing that represents Mexico.
    • Is formal clothing such as a tuxedo, including the tuxedo-type shirt, tie, cummerbund, etc.
  • Expand/collapse What is NOT considered a uniform and must be paid for by the worker?

    Certain colors for tops and bottoms are considered common:

    • Tops: white, tan or blue, including lighter or darker colors of tan or blue.
    • Bottoms: tan, black, blue, or gray, including lighter or darker colors of tan, blue, or gray.

    Even if the business requires these colors, it does not have to pay for this wearing apparel. For example: The most common colors required are a white blouse or shirt and black pants or skirts. Workers must buy this wearing apparel even though it is required by the business.

  • Expand/collapse What if the clothing is a common color but also has a logo or other feature that identifies the worker with the business?

It is still considered a uniform and the business is responsible for the cost of the clothing. For example:

  • A white shirt with a logo. The logo makes the white shirt a uniform and the business must bear the cost.

For more detail, see L&I Administrative Policies:
Acrobat PDF file Uniforms (ES.C.8.1) (17 KB PDF)
Acrobat PDF file Q&A About Uniforms (ES.C.8.2) (48 KB PDF)

End of main content, page footer follows.

Access Washington official state portal

© Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. Use of this site is subject to the laws of the state of Washington.