The National Minimum/Living Wage and Staff Uniforms

It is often the case that golf clubs require staff to wear a ‘uniform’ whilst employed at the club. Some clubs give a discount on their clothing to staff, others a budget. Some simply make them pay for the clothes themselves. The problem comes when staff are paid near to, or at, the National Minimum/Living Wage. HMRC says that if an employee is forced to wear certain clothing, and they must pay for this clothing, then this should be taken into account when calculating the National Minimum/Living Wage. If the employee is only paid the National Minimum/Living Wage then clearly this is going to take the employee to earnings below that level, and thus be unlawful. In order to avoid this situation, clubs will either have to offer the employee free clothing, pay them more in order to allow them to buy the clothing or sell the clothing to them at a discounted rate giving a pay rise to compensate. However, there are those clubs who simply have a uniform which the employee has to supply themselves, such as only wearing black trousers and white tops in the restaurant. This should also be taken into account when calculating the National Minimum/Living Wage. Even if you supply the shirt free of charge but insist it has to be worn with a certain colour of lower garment then the cost of that lower garment has to be taken into account. For more information on staff uniforms please consult HMRC’s National Minimum Wage Manual. This issue is a reminder to employers that the National Minimum/Living Wage is the least that an employee can expect to earn per hour, and any cost which creeps into that wage, with regard to being able to work in that role, should be taken into account. With the government now publishing offenders who breach the National Minimum Wage, every few months, the publicity, if you fail to meet the legislation, could be damaging to your business. As could the fine!
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