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03.082021

Right to remuneration for the time spent by workers changing in and out of their uniform (uniform time): the main guidelines (Corriere delle Paghe de Il Sole 24 Ore, 3 August2021 – Andrea Di Nino, Antonello Gerardi)

There is much case law on the remuneration of the time spent by the worker for changing in and out of their uniform (uniform time).

Please note that Article 1, paragraph 2 of Legislative Decree no. 66/2003 defines working time as “any period during which the worker is at work, at the employer’s disposal and in the exercise of their activity or duties.”

Based on this definition, the case law has expressed different orientations depending on whether the “uniform time” was preparatory to the work performance or an integral part of it.

Recently, the Court of Cassation returned to the matter in ruling no. 15763 of 7 June 2021, denying the workers concerned the right to be paid for the “uniform time.” This is because in the employment relationship, the time necessary to put on the service clothing constitutes working time “only if qualified as hetero-directed.”  According to the Court of Cassation, in the absence of this requirement, dressing falls within “the preparatory diligence included in the main work obligation” and does not give rise to any independent consideration.

In this case, it was found that the workers were not required to wear their work clothes on the company’s premises but were free to go to work and return home wearing them. The employer’s changing, showering and laundry services were facilities granted to employees for their needs, with no obligation to use them.

In another ruling, the same Court of Cassation has considered the dressing operations to be part of the preparatory phase and strictly functional to the workers’ performance, and as such to be remunerated as they are effectively hetero-directed (ruling no. 19358 of 10 September 2010). In this case, workers had to comply with a precise procedure before starting work; specifically, they were required to

  • pass, through a turnstile for the first time using a special badge, to gain access to the company’s changing room;
  • wear the uniform provided by the company;
  • clock in using the badge a second time before starting work;
  • at the end of the shift, clock in a third time, enter the changing room;
  • once finished undressing, clock in a fourth time and leave the company premises.

Continue reading the full version published in Corriere delle Paghe of Il Sole 24 Ore.