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Illegal deductions

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Dear Atty. Joji,

I am a college graduate lucky enough to find a job soon after my graduation. During the pre-employment orientation, I was asked to sign an authority to deduct forms for the monthly salary deductions for the uniforms and personal protective equipment (PPE) I will be using in my work. The total amount was too expensive, which will be a burden for me, especially because human resources (HR) said the uniforms will have to be changed every year.

So, I asked the HR officer if I could just buy the uniforms and PPE myself, and he said I cannot do that because the company wants to make sure of the quality and of having standardized uniforms. I signed the authority to deduct forms and started my work. A month after, when my partner saw my payslip, he asked why I had deductions for uniforms.

He said that the company should be the one paying for the uniforms since they are the ones requiring them for work. I brought this up with our HR officer, who said that the uniforms are work requirements and I already signed the authority to deduct forms. Shouldn’t the company be shouldering the cost for the uniforms and PPE?

Ezra

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Dear Ezra,

Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Labor Advisory 11, Series of 2014 — Non-Interference in the Disposal of Wages and Allowable Deductions, provides:

2. Exception. — Except in the following cases, the employer shall not make any deduction from the wages of the employee:

a. When the deductions are authorized by law, including deductions for insurance premiums advanced by the employer, on behalf of the employee as well as union dues where the right to check-off has been recognized by the employer or authorized in writing by the individual employee himself/herself; or

b. When the deductions are with written authorization of the employee for payment to a third person and the employer agrees to do so, provided that the latter does not receive any pecuniary benefit, directly or indirectly, from the transaction.

7. Unauthorized Deductions. — Deductions made from the employees’ wages for company uniforms, cash deposits for loss or damage, personal protective equipment (PPE), capital share or capital build-up in service cooperatives, training fees, and other deductions not included in the enumeration above, are unauthorized.

Therefore, you should not be charged with the cost of your uniforms, since deductions made from your salary for company uniforms and PPE are unauthorized. The fact that you signed an authority to deduct forms for your uniform and PPE is not an exception, since the Labor Advisory particularly mentions that deductions for uniforms and PPE are not authorized.

The company should be shouldering the cost of your uniforms and PPE, stop deducting this amount from your salary, and reimburse you for any such deductions already made.

Atty. Joji Alonso

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