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Whether it's chef's whites for the hospitality industry, a smart-looking suit and tie for a law office or the more casual attire of a start-up, every workplace is different and it can be tough for a new employee to navigate all the nuances that make your business special. That's where a dress code policy comes in.
A company's dress code can depend on the industry or company culture and a well-written dress code policy makes it easy for your staff to support a professional and positive image of a company. Find out how to write your own and where you can find samples and templates in our dress code policy guide.
What is a dress code policy?
A Dress Code Policy outlines how a company expects its employees to dress at work. The document should describe the appropriate dress along with what might be considered inappropriate and what happens in the event of a violation.
Download this dress code policy template at Lawpath
When should I use a dress code policy?
An employee handbook typically includes the dress code policy and this should be provided to new starters as part of their onboarding process. Otherwise, the dress code policy should be easily available for staff to review at any time.
You might use one dress code for employees who are internal facing, one for those who deal with clients or customers regularly and a different one for those who need to wear protective clothing or safety gear. A section on what is considered appropriate business casual attire could also be helpful, especially if your workplace encourages staff to dress down for 'Casual Fridays'.
What does a dress code policy include?
A dress code policy doesn't have to be a lengthy affair but it does need to cover some basic guidelines for employees. Who the policy applies to and a list of what is and isn't considered appropriate business wear is important.
You should also include a description of what is considered casual dress and smart casual dress for occasions that may not call for business attire. Finally, a dress code policy should detail what will occur in the event of a dress code violation.
How effective is a dress code policy?
A dress code policy makes it easy for your employees to understand what is deemed appropriate to wear to work and gives the employer a clear procedure to follow if those standards are not met. Without one, you're leaving your dress code up to interpretation which can make it difficult for employees.
Do I need a lawyer for a dress code policy?
No, you do not need a lawyer for a dress code policy but you should ensure that your policy does not amount to discrimination. Rules around your employees' dress could be discriminatory if they single out employees for special treatment because of certain personal characteristics or their background. If you do want to consult a lawyer, use the table below to compare online services.
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How do I write a dress code policy?
Employees interact with each other, clients and business partners on a regular basis and a well-written dress code policy reinforces what is expected. You can make your policy as detailed as it needs to be but try to use a respectful and positive tone and provide a clear explanation for your choices.
One key element of writing a successful dress code policy that your staff will support is to consult with employees throughout the process. This will also help identify any exceptions or special considerations that need to be made, especially in larger companies where job descriptions can be far-reaching.
Here are common parts of a dress code policy and how to write them:
- A short introduction. Start the policy with a brief outline of what the business expects with how employees present themselves at work and why this is important.
- The target audience. Detail who the policy applies to and if there are special exemptions for certain roles based on job type.
- General guidelines. Provide guidelines on appropriate clothing and any other applicable aspects such as jewellery, tattoos and hygiene.
- The dress code. This is where you clearly state what the general dress code of the business is along with exceptions when employees need to follow a different dress code.
- Accommodations and disputes. To assist in the event of any issues, detail how employees can address any concerns.
- Violations. Include a clear procedure for cases where employees do not follow the dress code policy.
Where to get free legal documents and templates like a dress code policy
Make easy work of your business' dress code policy with samples and templates that have already been tried and tested. Here is a selection of websites that allow you to view or download a dress code policy for free:
- Lawpath. Lawpath offer customisable dress code policy templates.
- Betterteam. Betterteam is a job publishing tool that also provides Human Resources tools and samples including a dress code policy template.
- Indeed. A popular job marketplace, Indeed's employer resources include a dress code policy sample for you to use as a template.
- The Balance Careers. Here you'll find templates for a variety of dress code policies from casual to formal and everything in between.
- Workable. Workable provides a free employee dress code policy template that you can tailor to your own company's needs.
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