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  • Uniforms... Who owns 'em?

    Our city provides us with $1000 annually for purchase of duty uniforms. This allowance is issued in two installments six months apart, both of which are taxed just like a regular paycheck.

    So, can the job tell us when and where we can wear our uniform t-shirts off duty? Some folks say that since they are part of our uniform, the department can make rules about them that follow us off duty. I say that since we buy them ourselves from money that's taxed as income, they are ours to do with as we please.

    How does it work where you are?
    sigpic

  • #2
    Our system is similar, except we get $700. During negotiations for the last contract the subject of off-duty wear of uniforms came up. After discussion w/ the union local's board, an SOP was written that states official uniform items are for duty wear only. I have not seen it enforced.

    I'm sure that helped you not one bit

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    • #3
      Your employer should NOT tax your uniform allowance. It should be assumed it will be for the purchase and upkeep of your equipment.

      Ask your union to explore a year end affidavit for each member to complete indicating the money was or was not fully utilized for job related expenses. Any unused money would then be entered as untaxed income on your 1040.

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      • #4
        Interesting....I've never heard of taxing your uniform allowance. Of course, my experience with uniform allowances has always been a case where you are allocated a fund, and then either order uniform items through your employer, or submit purchases for non-taxed reimbursement.

        However, on the issue of whether your employer can specify when and how you wear said items, it was always my understanding that if they provide you with monies in addition to your regular income, that that constitutes the right for them to tell you what you can and cannot do with them.

        PS: $1000/yr for uniforms....do you actually spend that much!?
        Jack of all trades, master of none.

        Live Green, Go Yellow!

        Join the forums at www.ambulass.com!

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        • #5
          We are issued a pair of shoes, 4 pairs of pants and 4 blue, button down, work shirts each year. We are also given money for the maintenance of the uniforms. We have to buy T-shirts on our own. There is a push this year for the department to go with golf style shirts instead of the button down ones that few people seem to wear. Since we buy our own T-shirts no one can tell me where I can/can't wear it. I don't think anyone wears the department issued stuff outside of work unless they are really beat up and then they will take the patch off and use it for their part time jobs.
          Northeast Fire Photos

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          • #6
            We dont have an allowence. When you start you get 3 work shirts/pants/ T-shirts, 1 dress shirt/pants, a winter coat, a sweatshirt, a ball cap, a jumpsuit, a tie and a belt. T-shirts we buy ourselves.

            Most of us buy additional T-shirts, a sweatshirt or two, and a second ball cap for off duty use.

            We buy our own boots.

            When its time for new stuff, you put in a written requiest for the items you need and they buy them.

            The Local and the volunteers both have T-shirts for sale that are different from the duty T-shirts and you can wear them as you please (just not on duty).

            As for them takeing taxes out, thats messed up. IMHO, whatever is purchased with it is yours.
            Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

            IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

            "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
            RUSH-Tom Sawyer

            Success is when skill meets opportunity
            Failure is when fantasy meets reality

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            • #7
              Our department is much like Dave's. We're issued 4 pants, 3 LS polos, 3 SS polos, 3 T-shirts, a job shirt, a jacket, a belt, and a pair of Red Wing boots when we're hired. When you need replacements, you submit a form on the computer to the logistics section, and your replacement items are sent to you on the logistics truck. Pretty darn easy.

              I can see both sides of the arguement. I would have to side with the department on this one. Although it's taxed, they money is still being given to you by the department, furthermore, it's specifically for uniforms. Seems like they should be able to tell you about the uniform's off-duty use.
              Career Fire Captain
              Volunteer Chief Officer


              Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dave1983
                We dont have an allowence. When you start you get...a winter coat...
                Is that winter coat for those days when the temp drops into the frigid 50's?

                Just joking...all meant in good fun!
                Jack of all trades, master of none.

                Live Green, Go Yellow!

                Join the forums at www.ambulass.com!

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                • #9
                  Some departments require that a firefighter not only buy uniforms, but their turnouts out of their annual clothing allowance!

                  For the record, I don't work for one of them.

                  My FD gets $875 a year per firefighter. One can buy from one of the approved vendors, who bill the City, or if one decides to buy from another vendor, we can submit the reciept for reimbursement from the firefighters clothing allowance account.

                  We can also charge the maintenance for class A dress uniforms (additions, alterations, etc.) or purchase items such as leather boots, leather lids, additional flashlights, etc. out of the allowance.

                  Turnout gear is provided by the City (coats, pants, hoods, gloves, "pleather" helmets and rubber boots)
                  ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                  Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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                  • #10
                    Good for you guys Gonz.

                    And you're not even an OSHA state

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