29 CFR § 4.168 - Wage payments - deductions from wages paid.

§ 4.168 Wage payments - deductions from wages paid.

(a) The wage requirements of the Act will not be met where unauthorized deductions, rebates, or refunds reduce the wage payment made to the employee below the minimum amounts required under the provisions of the Act and the regulations thereunder, or where the employee fails to receive such amounts free and clear because he “kicks back” directly or indirectly to the employer or to another person for the employer's benefit the whole or part of the wage delivered to him. Authorized deductions are limited to those required by law, such as taxes payable by employees required to be withheld by the employer and amounts due employees which the employer is required by court order to pay to another; deductions allowable for the reasonable cost or fair value of board, lodging, and facilities furnished as set forth in § 4.167; and deductions of amounts which are authorized to be paid to third persons for the employee's account and benefit pursuant to his voluntary assignment or order or a collective bargaining agreement with bona fide representatives of employees which is applicable to the employer. Deductions for amounts paid to third persons on the employee's account which are not so authorized or are contrary to law or from which the contractor, subcontractor or any affiliated person derives any payment, rebate, commission, profit, or benefit directly or indirectly, may not be made if they cut into the wage required to be paid under the Act. The principles applied in determining the permissibility of deductions for payments made to third persons are explained in more detail in §§ 531.38-531.40 of this title.

(b) Cost of maintaining and furnishing uniforms.

(1) If the employees are required to wear uniforms either by the employer, the nature of the job, or the Government contract, then the cost of furnishing and maintaining the uniforms is deemed to be a business expense of the employer and such cost may not be borne by the employees to the extent that to do so would reduce the employees' compensation below that required by the Act. Since it may be administratively difficult and burdensome for employers to determine the actual cost incurred by all employees for maintaining their own uniforms, payment in accordance with the following standards is considered sufficient for the contractor to satisfy its wage obligations under the Act:

(i) The contractor furnishes all employees with an adequate number of uniforms without cost to the employees or reimburses employees for the actual cost of the uniforms.

(ii) Where uniform cleaning and maintenance is made the responsibility of the employee, the contractor reimburses all employees for such cleaning and maintenance at the rate of $3.35 a week (or 67 cents a day). Since employees are generally required to wear a clean uniform each day regardless of the number of hours the employee may work that day, the preceding weekly amount generally may be reduced to the stated daily equivalent but not to an hourly equivalent. A contractor may reimburse employees at a different rate if the contractor furnishes affirmative proof as to the actual cost to the employees of maintaining their uniforms or if a different rate is provided for in a bona fide collective bargaining agreement covering the employees working on the contract.

(2) However, there generally is no requirement that employees be reimbursed for uniform maintenance costs in those instances where the uniforms furnished are made of “wash and wear” materials which may be routinely washed and dried with other personal garments, and do not generally require daily washing, dry cleaning, commercial laundering, or any other special treatment because of heavy soiling in work usage or in order to meet the cleanliness or appearance standards set by the terms of the Government contract, by the contractor, by law, or by the nature of the work. This limitation does not apply where a different provision has been set forth on the applicable wage determination. In the case of wage determinations issued under section 4(c) of the Act for successor contracts, the amount established by the parties to the predecessor collective bargaining agreement is deemed to be the cost of laundering wash and wear uniforms.

(c) Stipends, allowances or other payments made directly to an employee by a party other than the employer (such as a stipend for training paid by the Veterans Administration) are not part of “wages” and the employer may not claim credit for such payments toward its monetary obligations under the Act.