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

Provides that a wage assignment may be made to pay for the rental or use of uniforms, shirts, pants, other job-related clothing, equipment or tools necessary to fulfill the duties of employment.

Chamber Position: Support

The Latest: Heard this week in the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee; the bill was held for amendments.

Chamber Action/Commentary: The bill fixes a problem that was created when the U.S. Southern District Court determined that “while the statute permits deductions for the ‘purchase’ of uniforms, clothing rental is not included among the enumerated deduction purposes.” The Court further stated that “the statute does not list clothing ‘rental’ as one of the permissible purposes of a wage deduction, and the Court refuses to read that term into the statute.”

This issue is important for both employers and employees in certain sectors like the service industries and manufacturing. Under this bill, at an employee’s request, the employer would pay the upfront purchase costs for job-required tools and the upfront rental fee for job-related clothing. Then the employee would have the costs deducted from their wages. This arrangement relieves a monetary burden for employees and assists employers in the hiring process.

The Indiana Chamber was represented by attorney Michael Padgett with Jackson Lewis P.C., who conveyed that this bill will allow for clothing rental to be assigned as a wage deduction.  A representative from the Wildman Business Group, a clothing rental company, testified in favor along with the Indiana Manufacturers Association. The Chamber is working with Sen. Boots to get the bill in a format that should be able to move out of committee next week.

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