Harpreet Mohal

Dear HR Experts,
Greeting for the day...
As we all know that uniform is a part of discipline and uniformity among staff and workers. Some times employer provides same uniform to all worker and a bit different to all staff. Now being into HR we need to keep cost cutting and Employee motivation at par so that neither employer nor employee feels over burdened. Costs and increasing but we talk about industrial trends, any increase in minimum wages/Worker wages/salary, the customer (of employer) do not provide any increase in marginal cost of the component/s manufactured by the employer. So to reduce the overall cost, certain cost cutting tools are either proposed by employees or are imposed by the employer. So, Uniform being one of a major contributor of indirect cost, employer seeks/imposes these suggestions. Upon different industrial surveys and experience, i have come across these four criterion:
1. 100% Borne by the the Employer;
2. 100% Borne by the Employee;
3. 50% by the Employee and 50% by the Employer and
4. Subsidized Uniform (a defined percentage by the employer such as 33% by Employee and 66% by Employer or 25% by Employee and 75% by Employer)
Please suggest the best practice so that both Employee and Employer should not feel the heat. The current scenario is that employer is not providing the Uniform and wants to start the trend.
Please suggest keeping Industrial relations in mind.

From India, Chandigarh
Bharat Gera
Principal Hr Consultant
Insolvency N Gst Professional
Management Consultancy
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Where an employer has to provide uniform and shoes as required under law, there is no question of recovering even a part of the cost from the employee as it is a legal mandate. Even where the employer wants to provide uniform as a matter of policy for the sake of equality or identity or branding etc, I personally feel that it is not an ideal practice to recover the cost on sharing basis for the following reasons.
1)It is the employer's decision to provide uniform to the staff to serve certain purposes as said above but not the demand of the employees.When the employer provides a facility at his own instance, it is not proper to ask the employees to pay for it.
2)The wages are paid only for doing the work and can be deducted proportionately only when there is any short fall in the normal standard of productivity of the employee either on account of absence or late coming or neglect of work etc.On the other hand uniforms are expected to improve productivity of employees because of the feelings of unity and bonding and therefore not a prudent practice to penalize him for being more productive.
3) Most of the employees who have to wear uniforms belong to junior levels of hierarchy and may not be very well paid. A deduction may cause some financial hardship.
4)The employee himself bears the cost of keeping uniform washed and pressed regularly. He bears the maintenance cost.
3) It may not help employer branding.
One question may arise as to what if an employee leaves the organisation within one month or within short period of joining, rendering the uniform waste as it cannot be given to others.This is a cost to the company. In such cases, you can make it as part of the terms of appointment that he has to bear 60% of the cost of the uniform if he leaves within a month of his joining and 50%, if he leaves within three months and 40% thereafter but before 6 months. No recovery after six months.
Other views welcome
HR & Labour relations Adviser

From India, Mumbai

Why do we require uniforms- discipline, commonality of dress, easy identification etc.
Uniforms are a distinctive mode of being recognised from the crowd.No wonder armed forces the world over give uniforms to their personnel.They not alone prescribe dress but gives them subsidy, monthly allowances etc
The company which wants their employees in uniform must select -suitable design, cloth type-which not alone make employee stand out but helps him in work.
Company can weigh the indirect cost of providing uniforms and intrinsic but non computable value of giving uniforms and accordingly make policies.These policies range from cost limits, periodicity to recovering cost of uniform form people who leave w/o serving a minimum period after joining.
Some negative points of Wearing Uniforms at Work:
Hampered performance: Poorly designed work clothes can result in restricted performance. ...
Dress issues: ...Type of aparrel may not suit some workers
Prevents uniqueness: ...Unique style of each person gets submerged in the crowd.
Negative reception: ...Some employee may not like this regimentation and feel they are in the Army.(IR Part)
Taking time: ...Uniforms need special care and upkeep.A dirty uniform is more noticeable and has negative value as compared to a dirty civil cloth worn by worker.
Religious sentiments:This aspect also needs to be kept in mind while prescribing uniforms.
After weighing all these issues, company can take a call.

From India, Pune
Harpreet Mohal

Thanks a lot for your valuable feedback.
From India, Chandigarh

Valuable points have been proposed / suggested for providing Uniforms to the employees. It also depends upon the type of industry; Factories, Office, Categories of employees; like workmen at shop floor & offices etc., Since it is a Welfare measures and Co. provides it to have identity & discipline of employees; and there is also compulsion or rule for employees to wear it while on duty; most factories provide it freely; including stitching charges, washing allowance etc., Security personnel are given even ironing allowances.
Since most Cos. give it as a welfare measure & for the need of the Co. for discipline, identity etc., at work places, proposing to charge can have negative effect on morale of the employees.
Some Cos. give 3 pairs of pant & shirt. Recovery can be proposed if the employee leaves within 3-6 months of issue. Senior Members have given good suggestion. HR Dept. to see the Industrial practices in surrounding industries and implement.
HR Consultant. 25.1.18

From India, Mumbai
Bharat Gera

Dear Friend,
To add one more point to the valuable suggestions given by the members above, I wish to mention that for the employees falling in the workmen category under labour laws, you can neither charge nor discontinue the uniform as it is a service condition now. However, you can introduce changes by following the process under Section 9A of the ID Act.
For others you can easily do so but not without causing resentment.
In fact this step will vitiate the atmosphere.
Why when it comes to cost Leadership of the Companies try to punish poor employees of the Company, if cost is the issue, then cut down the entitlements, facilities, salary and benefits of the top layer of the employees this way you will only a handful will suffer, also stop their hefty increments to save the cost.
Warm Regards
Bharat Gera
HR Consultant

From India, Thane
Uniform is important part of organisations work culture. But cost of uniform not borne by employees, low salaried employees are not in position to bear amount and maintenance of uniform , organisations must take all the cost and maintenance of uniform.


Uniform attire cannot be seen distinct from the organisational culture. The Japanese had made it big and we had it in Maruti Suzuki Plant at Gurgaon where all employees wore the same uniform and ate in the same canteen. It was a novelty then. Soon many organisations followed this practice. The purpose of bringing uniformity is to promote inclusiveness amongst all employees and that there is no discrimination based on the rank in the organisation. I personally know many employees getting married attired in neat uniforms or wearing uniform for the wedding of their children. The interesting explanation given was that this is the only dress which I share with my Chief Executive. The employee felt happy and proud to show his organisational loyalty.
By charging the employees for it will deprive it of such sentiments.

From India, Mumbai

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