Can I charge staff for PPE?
Coronavirus has taken its toll on many businesses across the UK, leaving business owners searching for ways to lower their overheads and cut back on unnecessary costs. One cost that has risen over the course of the pandemic is personal protective equipment (PPE), with employers now providing PPE for workers who didn’t necessarily require in pre-COVID.
This begs the question: Can I charge staff for PPE?
Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
Under section 9 of the Health & Safety at Work (HSAW) Act, you cannot charge staff for PPE. The Act reads: “No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions.” Within the Act, PPE falls under “specific requirement(s).”
Therefore, paying for PPE for all members of staff is the sole responsibility of the employer, and asking employees for even a refundable deposit for PPE is illegal. You also can not refuse to provide PPE for your employees. This is illegal as all members of staff have the right to access PPE for use at work where there are health and safety risks that cannot be controlled in any other way.
Non-Return of PPE
One area where employers can ask their staff to pay for PPE is when items of PPE or other protective equipment have not been returned to the employer when the employee leaves the company. This can be taken as a deduction from the employee’s final wages. However, for this to be allowed, it must first clearly be stated in your employee’s contract that any workwear remains the property of the company and must be returned. It goes without saying that this only applies to reusable PPE that can be cleaned and safely given to another employee for reuse.
Reusable & High-Quality PPE
If you are struggling to cut costs and are battling financially because of the global pandemic, one way to cut the cost of PPE is to provide your staff with reusable personal protective equipment. While reusable PPE may appear more expensive than disposable alternatives initially, it generates cash savings in the longer term. Our washable antibacterial face masks can be washed and reused up to 20 times, offering both cost and environmental benefits.
Additionally, the quality of workwear can have a significant impact on both how well it does its job in protecting your staff, and how long it lasts. Werarwell is one of the oldest British manufacturers of workwear with more than 80 years experience. Visit our shop to purchase high-quality PPE that lasts.