Question: We require our employees to wear a company polo shirt at work.  Can we provide one shirt per year and have employees pay for a new shirt if it starts looking worn or is damaged during the year? Also, do we have to pay for the maintenance of the shirts?

Answer:  Section 9 of the Industrial Wage Orders states:

UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT (A) When uniforms are required by the employer to be worn by the employee as a condition of employment, such uniforms shall be provided and maintained by the employer. The term uniform includes wearing apparel and accessories of distinctive design or color.

Employers are not permitted to charge employees for shirts or for replacement shirts when the first one wears out or is damaged.  Additionally, if an employee works more than one shift per week the employer should consider providing one shirt for each day the employee is scheduled to work in a workweek.

Employers must continue to maintain uniforms that require daily, special, or other routine laundering due to heavy soiling or use, and uniforms requiring ironing, dry cleaning or repairs.