Can an employer require their employees to pay for their own personal protective equipment? For example, if working in a restaurant where gloves are required, could a boss require the employees to pay 1.25 cents for every pair of gloves used?


3 Answers 3


The Person Controlling the Business or Undertaking (PCBU) is required to provide and is not permitted to charge for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

A PCBU is a term that includes but is broader than employers.


Arbeitsschutzgesetz - § 3 Grundpflichten des Arbeitgebers:

  1. Der Arbeitgeber ist verpflichtet, die erforderlichen Maßnahmen des Arbeitsschutzes unter Berücksichtigung der Umstände zu treffen, die Sicherheit und Gesundheit der Beschäftigten bei der Arbeit beeinflussen. Er hat die Maßnahmen auf ihre Wirksamkeit zu überprüfen und erforderlichenfalls sich ändernden Gegebenheiten anzupassen. Dabei hat er eine Verbesserung von Sicherheit und Gesundheitsschutz der Beschäftigten anzustreben.
  2. Zur Planung und Durchführung der Maßnahmen nach Absatz 1 hat der Arbeitgeber unter Berücksichtigung der Art der Tätigkeiten und der Zahl der Beschäftigten
  • für eine geeignete Organisation zu sorgen und die erforderlichen Mittel bereitzustellen sowie
  • Vorkehrungen zu treffen, daß die Maßnahmen erforderlichenfalls bei allen Tätigkeiten und eingebunden in die betrieblichen Führungsstrukturen beachtet werden und die Beschäftigten ihren Mitwirkungspflichten nachkommen können.
  1. Kosten für Maßnahmen nach diesem Gesetz darf der Arbeitgeber nicht den Beschäftigten auferlegen.


Occupational Health and Safety Act - § 3 Basic obligations of the employer:

  1. the employer is obliged to take the necessary occupational health and safety measures, taking into account the circumstances that affect the safety and health of employees at work. He must check the effectiveness of the measures and, if necessary, adapt them to changing circumstances. In doing so, he must strive to improve the safety and health protection of employees.
  2. in order to plan and implement the measures referred to in paragraph 1, the employer shall, taking into account the nature of the activities and the number of employees
  • ensure suitable organization and provide the necessary resources and
  • make arrangements to ensure that the measures are observed, if necessary, in all activities and integrated into the company management structures and that the employees can fulfill their obligations to cooperate.
  1. the employer may not impose the costs of measures under this Act on the employees.

I don't think you need any additional comment from me on that, the law is crystal clear on this point.

  • This covers equipment required for the safety of the worker but the gloves are required for the safety of the customer. I assume there will be similar provisions for other legally required clothing?
    – xyldke
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 14:36
  • 2
    There is no legally required clothing that isn't also for the protection of the worker. Gloves are worn to protect both, worker and customer. Whatever is bad for the customer, is also bad for the worker, it's not like they are magically immune.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 15:01
  • 1
    @xyldke the gloves are mandated by food preparation laws as safety equipment for the worker.
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 20:29

You do not have to pay, however, IANAL.

For California, please see California Labor Code §6401. As shown in Westlaw, it says:

Current as of January 01, 2023 | Updated by FindLaw Staff

Every employer shall furnish and use safety devices and safeguards, and shall adopt and use practices, means, methods, operations, and processes which are reasonably adequate to render such employment and place of employment safe and healthful. Every employer shall do every other thing reasonably necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees.

The various other paragraphs of that section are further discussed at the California Occupational Safety and Health Portal.

The end result of this is that the "longstanding requirement established by California legal cases that employers must provide and pay for personal protective equipment - without exception".

However, even though that "without exception" is in place, there are always exceptions (such as for loss or intentional employee damages). Please read the OCHP site carefully.

Please note that I am not a lawyer, and am not affiliated with California, the California OCHP, the law firm shown in the OCHP site, or Westlaw.

  • Please feel free to edit this to be more grammatical and/or easier to read.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 10:22

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