Senate Bill 99 – Wage Assignments for Clothing and Tools
Authored by Sen. Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville)

Provides that a wage assignment for the purchase, rental or use of uniforms, shirts, pants and other job-related clothing may not be an amount that exceeds the direct cost paid by the employer to an external vendor for those items. Provides that a wage assignment may be made for the rental of uniform shirts, pants and job-related clothing. Provides that a wage assignment may be made for the purchase of equipment or tools necessary to fulfill the duties of employment. Provides that a wage assignment for the purchase of equipment or tools may not be an amount that exceeds the direct cost paid by the employer to an external vendor for those items. Full details.

Chamber Position: Support

The Latest: Testimony was offered on the bill, but no vote was taken yet in the House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Chamber Action/Commentary: The Chamber testified that this fixes a problem deemed by the U.S. Southern District Court to be impermissible: the deduction from wages of the cost of clothing rental. The court determined that “while the statute permits deductions of the purchase of uniforms, clothing rental is not included among the enumerated deduction purposes.” This bill also allows for clothing rental to be assigned as a wage deduction. To avoid a misunderstanding of the definition of “uniform,” other types of clothing were specified, as was the addition of “tools” to differentiate between that and “equipment.”

Previously, we reported that we did not anticipate difficulty as the bill moved through the process. However, it did hit a snag during committee discussion when an amendment was offered to make the bill retroactive. The language caused confusion among some committee members, particularly Rep. Lisa Beck (D-Hebron), who questioned the Chamber at length about the amendment – which we had not seen prior to the hearing. The amendment had been prepared at the request of the Indiana Manufacturers Association. Committee chairman Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) said he would hold the bill and work out any problems that may be encountered, but he indicated the bill would move with or without the amendment.

Resource: Mike Ripley at (317) 264-6883 or email: [email protected]