Water, sewage, electricity, powders, liquids, stain removers, the type of dirt - all these affect the equivalent amount for washing work clothes. Do you want to learn more about this topic? Learn about the payment rules and possible exceptions? You've come to the right place! Below you will find the answers you need!
What is an equivalent?
Equivalent is a term often found in the Labor Code. And it hides under it the amount that is paid to the employee in exchange for the due benefit, not received in the original form. One of the most popular is cash equivalent, paid for unused vacation, but in this article we will focus on another type. Namely, we will deal with the allowance for washing work clothes, which, contrary to appearances, really concerns many people.
The employer is obliged to provide work clothes to employees - free of charge - in situations where private clothes could be damaged or significantly soiled, and if it is justified by sanitary or occupational health and safety requirements. In doing so, he may either wash them himself or pay the employee an appropriate allowance, when it is the employee's responsibility (if he agrees) to take care of his work clothes - the Labor Code allows both options.
Rules for payment of an allowance for laundering of work clothes
When deciding on the payment - usually once a month - of an allowance for washing work clothes, it is necessary to take into account the cost of utilities (water, sewage, electricity), depreciation of the washing machine, the cost of washing agents, the type and quantity of clothes, the type of dirt, the frequency of washing, as well as whether the employee will wash it all himself or perhaps use the services of a professional laundry.
The calculations must be reliable - not "by eye", but taking into account specific data. Importantly, the funds paid as an allowance - like other health and safety benefits - are not taxable. Nor are they included in the basis from which social security contributions (pension, disability, accident, sickness) are calculated.
Importantly, the employer may specify the principle of reducing the allowance, taking effect in certain situations, for example, absence due to illness or vacation - of course, adequate to the period of absence.
Lump sum for washing clothes
When discussing the topic of allowance for laundering work clothes, the concept of a lump sum also comes up. Importantly, an equivalent is not a lump sum. The main difference is that the former corresponds to the actual expenses that the employee incurs, while the latter is set the same for everyone, without determining the actual laundry needs.
How much is the working clothes laundry allowance 2023?
There is no single pre-determined amount of the working clothes laundry allowance. Everything depends on internal arrangements, taking into account the above-mentioned costs and factors, as well as current market prices. Calculations are individual for each employee. For example, you can use the prices for washing individual pieces of clothing at a laundry in the locality where the workplace is located. It is a good idea to create a spreadsheet and conduct all calculations there.
In the specifications of each washing machine, the manufacturer specifies how much electricity and how much water one wash consumes at a particular temperature. So you should multiply these values by the current rates of the electricity and water vendor. As for the depreciation of the washing machine, here we look at the average market price of a particular model and divide by 60 (60 is 5 years, which is the average lifespan of a washing machine). The resulting figure is divided by the number of washings of work clothes per month. Then there is the cost of detergents, and here the employer can take the market price of popular detergents, and divide this by the number of washes.
Finally, it is also worth taking into account the cost of the employee's labor, since he has to spend his free time loading the washing machine, taking out and hanging up the clothes, and then removing them. He performs these activities outside working hours. It can be assumed that it takes him about 20 minutes for one cycle, so it is enough to check the applicable minimum hourly rate to find out how much his labor is worth per wash.
Washing of chemically contaminated clothing
The situation is slightly different when it comes to clothing that has been contaminated with chemicals, radioactive agents or biologically infectious materials during the performance of daily duties. Then the obligation to care for it and wash it rests solely with the employer. It is not possible to entrust this to the employee.
What if the employer does not pay the allowance for washing clothes?
Finally, an answer - again - to the question of what if the employer does not pay the allowance for washing clothes. Then it is on his shoulders that the responsibility for laundering rests. And if he expects the employee to do so, but at the same time is in arrears in paying the money due, then you can report to the State Labor Inspectorate.
And what is it like at your workplace? And what amount of allowance do you receive?