Employees in many companies are required by management to wear a uniform or expressed work attire while carrying out their work responsibilities or while present in the workplace. There are many reasons why employees are obliged to wear a uniform –

  • A uniform is important in some industries from a Health and Safety perspective
  • Wearing a uniform can create a sense of pride/comfort/unity among employees
  • Uniforms maintain the company’s corporate image and are a branding opportunity
  • Uniforms assist in the efficient identification of employees which is helpful to customers, other employees, suppliers and stakeholders in general.

The “uniform” requirements may be a simple guide – for instance “All employees must wear black while carrying out their duties” or employees may simply have a name tag attached to their own clothing.

In many workplaces a specific uniform is not mandatory; however, compliance with the company’s dress code may be compulsory and will be enforced by the employer or management.

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Employees will often come into contact with clients and suppliers and consequently it is in the best interest of the company that they present themselves in a professional manner with regards to appearance and standards of dress. It is essential that overall hygiene and grooming are maintained.

Where uniforms are not provided or required, employees should wear clothes appropriate to the job responsibilities – Naturally a mechanic will wear a different form of clothing than an office worker.

Where possible work attire should be kept clean and tidy at all times.

Some employers will restrict employees in terms of what jewellery is allowed as well as items like tattoos – If a company has guidelines in relation to matters such as work attire the relevant policies should be included in the employee handbook and this should be made available to all employees on the commencement of their employment.

Some employers will provide uniforms for employees when they commence employment. In some instances the cost of the uniform will be deducted from the employees pay. Rules in terms of the maintenance of the uniform vary from company to company.

Some companies will request that employees launder their own uniforms at their own expense or at the expense of the company. Medical professionals, for instance, must always have sanitized work attire.


It is important that employers do not request that their employees wear inappropriate uniforms or uniforms that are not comfortable or practical for the work that is being completed.

Suitable footwear and clothing that is warm enough for the working conditions is essential.

According to health and safety guidelines an employer must communicate any risks to the employee that would require them to wear protective equipment. The employer should provide the relevant protective equipment such as protective hard hats, metal topped shoes, eyewear and gloves etc.  Where necessary the employer should also provide training on how to use the protective gear.

It is the duty of the employee to take reasonable care for his/her own safety and to use any protective equipment supplied. Radiologists should wear lead coated aprons, for instance, to avoid unnecessary amounts of radiation penetrating their bodies during x-rays.

The protective equipment should be provided free of charge to employees if it is intended for use at the workplace only. Where possible, the employee should be provided with their own personal equipment rather than having to share this with other employees.

For assistance in creating contracts of employment or employee handbooks containing policies and procedures about dress code/uniforms and much more and to ensure you are compliant with all employment legislation visit The HR Company and subscribe to have 24/7 access to your own personal expert HR department.

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