Retailers warned: Staff don’t have to buy your product

Retail employers have been warned about ‘unreasonable’ requests for employees to buy and wear clothing from the stores they represent.

Retailers warned: Staff don’t have to buy your product

The retail trend of requiring employees to purchase and wear clothing from the store without reimbursement is coming to an end, News Ltd reported.

The practice came to media attention when Caitlin Boland, a sales assistant at Lovisa, complained to the CEO about being forced to purchase current in stock items regularly out of her own pay to wear to work. She will be reimbursed for all purchases.

News Ltd stated an employee from Forever New also made claims of being forced to keep up with current trends in the store through purchases. A Forever New spokeswoman denied that employees had to wear clothing from the store.

An employee from Diva mentioned similar treatment.

The Fairwork Ombudsman’s website states that employers are prohibited from making employees buy and wear specific clothing from their store unless they are reimbursed. The Retail Award stipulates employers must provide/pay for the clothing.

The Fair Work Act 2009 prevents employers from requiring employees to spend any part of their wages on “unreasonable” requests. What is and is not reasonable is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Requiring employees to wear any “special” (such as retail stock, items with the company’s logo on it, etc) or “protective” (aprons, goggles, etc) clothing all fall under the same requirement in The Retail Award, and require employers to either provide/pay for the clothing, or reimburse the employee.

Items reasonably expected to be owned such as black and white clothing or neat casual clothing are not included.

In addition, employers that require their staff to clean any special clothing may need to provide employees with a “laundry allowance”.

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