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Guide Interpretation

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Part I - Act respecting labour standards

CHAPTER IV - Labour standards

Miscellaneous other labour standards

Sections
85
85.1
85.2
86
86.1
87

Section 85

Special clothing

An employer that requires the wearing of special clothing must supply it free of charge to an employee who is paid the minimum wage. In the case of an employee referred to in section 42.11 or 1019.4 of the Taxation Act (chapter I-3), the minimum wage is computed on the basis of the wages increased by the tips attributed under that section 42.11 or reported under that section 1019.4, and must at least be equivalent to the minimum wage that does not apply to a particular class of employees.

The employer cannot require an amount of money from an employee for the purchase, use or upkeep of special clothing if that would cause the employee to receive less than the minimum wage. In the case of an employee referred to in section 42.11 or 1019.4 of the Taxation Act, the minimum wage is computed on the basis of the wages increased by the tips attributed under that section 42.11 or reported under that section 1019.4, and the amount of money required from the employer cannot be such that the employee receives less than the minimum wage that does not apply to a particular class of employees.

The employer cannot require an employee to pay for special clothing that identifies the employee as an employee of the employer’s establishment. In addition, the employer cannot require an employee to purchase clothing or accessories that are items in the employer’s trade.

Interpretation

On May 1, 2003, the expression "uniform" was replaced by the expression "special", which is much broader. Special clothing is clothing that the employer requires that the employee wear.

An employer who requires the wearing of this special clothing must supply it free of charge to the employee paid at the minimum wage. He cannot require from the employee an amount of money for the purchase, use or upkeep of this clothing that would cause the employee to receive less than the minimum wage.

The law protects the right to the minimum wage (s. 40 ALS). All employees must receive at least the minimum wage after a deduction for expenses regarding their uniform is made.

The employer cannot require that an employee pay for special clothing that identifies him with the employer’s establishment or that he purchase clothing or accessories sold by the employer, regardless of the wages received by the employee. For example, a clothing store cannot require that its employees pay for the clothing and accessories that are items in its trade.

Employee who receives gratuities or tips
For the application of this section, an employee who receives gratuities or tips must receive a wage that is at least equal to the general minimum wage (see the interpretation of section 40 ALS).

When calculating if the employee who receives gratuities or tips earns at least the general minimum wage, his wages and his attributed or reported tips must be added.

Moreover, an employer who makes a deduction from the pay of the employee who assumes the costs of the clothing will first have to have the employee sign a precise written authorization to that effect. The specific purpose, namely the reimbursement of the clothing as well as its cost, will have to be mentioned in the writing, in accordance with section 49 ALS.

1979, c. 45, s. 85; 1990, c. 73, s. 37; 2002, c. 80, s. 50.

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