Staff Uniform and Appearance at Work/Dress Code Policy  

Policy Statement


This policy is written with regards to Regulation 8  ‘Cleanliness and Infection control’ and 23 ‘Supporting Workers’ of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010, and Outcome 8: Cleanliness and Infection Control, and Outcome 14: Supporting workers of the care Quality Commissioner’s Guidance about Compliance: Essential Standards of Quality and Safety.


This home achieves this by ensuring that each member of staff is appropriately dressed for the work to be done and that any personal protective clothing or equipment is available so as to minimise the potential for staff to suffer damage or loss to their own clothing.


This policy and procedure sets out the uniform and appearance at work/dress code and has been introduced to protect the safety of our residents. The purpose of the policy is to ensure that all employees are clear on the standards of appearance/dress expected while at work, whether uniform or non-uniform.


Our staffs are our most valuable asset, without them our service cannot be delivered and our business does not exist. We believe that how staff are dressed and presented is very important in portraying a positive image, an expectation on all our staff. The appearance at work/dress code details the standards and image the company wishes to convey to all its residents, other professional bodies and members of the public. The policy acknowledges personal and cultural diversity where this does not compromise the safety of residents or employees, or damage the professional standing of the individual or the organisation. Employees are advised that any proposed deviation from this policy because of culture, ethnic, religious and physical consideration must be agreed in consultation with the Homes manager, General manager and Proprietor.


Failure to comply with the policy may lead to risks to residents and the employee and, therefore, repeated failure to adhere to the policy may result in disciplinary action being taken in accordance with the Companies Policy and Procedure for the management of Disciplinary matters.


This policy describes standards for all employees and specific standards for employees directly involved in the delivery of care. As well as general standards, there are additional, more stringent requirements for employees providing direct care, which may or may not be required to wear uniform. In order to comply with this policy, all direct care employees will be supplied with uniform to facilitate good practice in the areas of infection, prevention and control and health and safety.


Responsibility and Accountability Managers


Managers must ensure that the uniform and Appearance/Dress Code Policy is implemented within his/her area of responsibility and to ensure that employees are aware of the policy.


Managers must also ensure the following:


  • Endeavour to maintain a safe and healthy working environment where dress code, appearance or uniform is appropriate to the duties being undertaken, including the use of personal protective equipment/Health and safety Equipment.
  • Address any concerns raised by an employee where they believe their personal requirements or circumstances are not being met in relation to this policy thereby avoiding any discriminatory practices. The manager should meet with the employee to discuss their personal requirements. Any deviation from the policy, where appropriate, will be agreed with the General Manager and Proprietor.
  • Ensure that employees are aware of and have access to the correct uniform for their area of work
  • Ensure an initial set of uniform is ordered, dependent on job role, hours worked.
  • Replacement uniforms are provided as required and in agreement with the manager after 2 years – please refer to Staff Uniform order sheet at end of this policy.
  • Take action where an employee does not comply with the dress code, appearance or uniform requirements set out in this policy.




It is an employee’s responsibility to:


  • Adhere to the standards of dress and personal appearance appropriate to their staff group and job role at all times
  • Inform their manager in a timely manner should their uniform need replacing.
  • Inform their manager of any discretionary reason they may need adjustments to be accommodated to this policy.




All staff – General Principles


Personal Hygiene


All employees should maintain a high level of personal hygiene. The chewing of gum is prohibited in all areas. Nicotine gum can be used for the purpose of smoking cessation but never when dealing directly with residents, the public or when talking on the phone.


Identification Badges


All employees must wear their identification badges at all times in all areas of the homes for security and identity purposes. Identity badges remain the property of the company and must be returned to the homes manager when employment ends.


Personal clothing compensation for damage


Employees are required to adopt a common-sense approach with regard to the clothing, jewellery, glasses etc that they wear to work in terms of expense. Employees must ensure that articles are appropriate to the type of work that they carry out and must be mindful of any potential for damage to/loss of personal property, which may arise as a result of carrying out their duties.


The company discourages employees from coming to work or attending training in overly expensive or ‘designer’ items and where employees choose to do so and subsequently make a claim for damage to/loss of such items the company reserves the right to impose an upper limit of the amount of compensation it will reimburse.


All claims for compensation for damage to/loss of personal clothing will be reviewed by the General manager and Proprietor and will be considered in line with this Policy. Employees will therefore only be compensated for damage to personal clothing/property that was worn in line with the requirements of this Policy.


All incidents where personal clothing/property is damaged or lost whilst at work must be reported on an Incident reporting form.


Non-Uniform Staff – Dress for Work


Where a uniform is not a requirement of the role it is important that the employees dress in a professional manner that does not cause offence or embarrassment to residents or others with whom they come into contact with.


Employees who wear their own clothes should ensure that they are suitable for work purposes; are clean and in a good state of repair, and should look professional at all times.


The following should be avoided:


  • Clothes that are revealing and may cause embarrassment or offence, (i.e. above mid-thigh length; showing the midriff or underwear).
  • Clothes with logos or advertisements; sports clothing.
  • Clothing that could be interpreted as intimidating or threatening, (i.e. combat clothing).
  • Ripped or torn clothing.
  • Denim clothing.


Dependent on the job role clothing which covers the face may not be permitted. Where an employee or applicant requests a change to their uniform the manager will adhere to the guidance detailed in this Policy.


Non-Uniform staff in direct resident contact


Employees who wear their own clothes rather than a uniform when working in a care/clinical area (e.g. Homes managers), should adhere to the general principles of the standards set out above. In particular, they should ensure that their clothes and shoes and permitted jewellery (where appropriate) do not pose a potential hazard to themselves, residents and other employees from both an infection prevention and control and a health and safety perspective. Employees who wear their own clothes rather than a uniform when working in a clinical environment (i.e. managers) should also ensure that they portray a professional image at all times.




All employees who are uniformed are required to wear the uniform provided and agreed by the Company this includes Personal Protective Clothing. Employees are required to wash their own uniform.


The following must be observed:


  • Employees who are required to wear a uniform will be provided with an adequate number of quality uniforms by the company.
  • All uniforms must be clean, ironed and presentable and in case of accidental spillage or contamination with body fluids staff will be provided with a suitable alternative for the remainder of their shift. That replacement uniform must be washed and returned by the employee within 48 hours.
  • A clean freshly laundered uniform must be worn daily due to a presumed degree of contamination following a shift. Uniform should be washed at the hottest temperature suitable for the fabric to remove/destroy most micro-organisms.
  • Uniforms should not be worn in any retail or recreational premises while not at work, this ensures a professional image is maintained at all times.




Additional Requirements for Uniformed and Non Uniformed Employees working in Clinical Areas


All uniformed employees, when on duty, must wear their regulation uniform, in compliance with this policy. This projects a professional image and is in line with the requirements of the residents of our homes. The uniform provided must be worn and maintained in a clean condition and in good repair.


Clothing should allow sufficient hip and shoulder movement for the safe moving and handling requirements of the job.


Stocking, tights and socks should be black, blue or neutral.


Washable cardigans may be worn but not when delivering care.


Where a headscarf or a veil is worn, as part of religious observance employees must ensure that the flow of the garment does not interfere with work practice. This must be changed on a daily basis to minimise cross infection.


Pens/scissors or any sharp instrument that could cause injury when handling residents should be removed from breast pockets whilst carrying out resident care.


  • Infection Prevention and Control


All employees working in a direct clinical role (regardless of whether they wear uniform or not) MUST apply the ‘bare below the elbow’ principles.

          All wrist and hand jewellery must be removed – except one plain ring with no stones.

          No false nails, nail varnish or nail adornments

          No long sleeves below the elbow


When undertaking clinical procedures, long sleeved garments (i.e. cardigans) must be removed. Longed sleeve garments such as blouses and shirts must have the sleeves rolled up to above the elbow.


Good hand hygiene is the single most effective way to reduce the risk of cross contamination however studies have shown that areas of greatest hand contact such as cuffs show maximum contamination and high levels of organisms have been found on the hands of staff wearing rings. The presence of rings has also been shown to decrease the effectiveness of hand washing.


Uniform and personal protective clothing is provided to all clinical staff members. Employees have a duty to ensure they are using appropriate PPE as required to reduce the risk of cross infection. Disposable aprons must be changed in-between residents care and before leaving a residents room in order to adhere to Infection Prevention and Control principles.


  • Nails


Finger nails should be kept short and clean. Care/clinical staff must not wear nail varnish, nail art or false nails whilst on duty. The wearing of such items is strictly forbidden as they pose an infection prevention and control risk and a health and safety hazard to residents.


  • Hair


Hair must be clean, well groomed. Uniformed staff must have their hair tied back if longer than shoulder length. Where hair grips are worn, they must not have the potential to injure employees or residents, and must comply with health and safety and infection control standards. Hair styles that may be perceived by residents or visitors as against the positive image, appearance or presentation of the company such as dyeing hair in a bright colour or a Mohican haircut should be discussed with line managers in advanced to assess how this may be viewed under the Dress Code.


  • Jewellery


Employees should ensure that their permitted jewellery is minimal, following the bare below the elbows principle so that it does not pose a risk to themselves or to others and promotes a professional image. Facial piercings should remain discreet and facial jewellery should be plain and flat. This is to avoid potential harm and also to present a professional image. Any piercings or jewellery which may cause and infection prevention and control hazard must therefore be covered or removed. Employees who are required to wear jewellery for religious reasons may do so provided that they do not impact on health and safety or infection prevention and control principles of effective hand washing.


Employees whose religion requires them to wear a religious symbol may do so provided that they are discrete and comply with infection prevention and control and health and safety policies.


Clinical/care staff may wear a plain ring with no stones and one small pair of plain stud earrings. Wrist watches must be removed at the start of the working shift when giving direct resident care. No necklaces, bracelets or anklets are to be worn.



  • Tattoos


Employees who have tattoos should ensure that they are not visible where possible. New tattoos must be covered with a waterproof dressing until they are healed. In working in an area where bear below the elbows are required the covering of the tattoo must not contravene this principle. Visible tattoos should not be of a type that can cause potential offense to other employees, our residents or visitors to our homes.


  • Footwear


Shoes must be suitable for the work task. Clinical/care staff should ensure shoes are black in colour, white or black for kitchen staff, with a rubber non-slip sole and low heel, give adequate top foot support i.e no ballet type shoe, and be strong enough to prevent damage to toes should anything be dropped on the feet. These are provided by the individual. Open toe shoes or sandals and mules must not be worn as these constitute a hazard (manual Handling Operations Regulations, 1992). If alternative footwear is required for medical purposes, the individual will be required to provide medical evidence and discuss this with their line manager.


Mobile phones


Clinical /care staff are not permitted to have personal mobile phones on their person during their shift. Personal phones must be left securely in the designated staff room. Personal property brought into the homes including personal mobile phones are brought into the work place at the individuals own risk. The company takes no responsibility for personal items that go missing from the work place. Any person requiring to be contacted in an emergency situation should give the homes telephone number or discuss the individual circumstances with their line manager.




The Homes have a no smoking policy in place, with smoking only permitted in designated outside areas. Employees who smoke are only permitted to do so during their official breaks and are not permitted to take extra smoking breaks, doing so may lead to disciplinary action being taken against them. Dispose of cigarette ends is to be in the designated and appropriate containers for Health and Safety purposes and to maintain the high standards of the company’s image.


Changes to Uniform in Extreme Weather Conditions


There may be circumstances where the wearing of all, or part of, the uniform may cause difficulties to employees, for example in extremely hot or cold weather. Changes may be allowed following discussions with employees and managers and ensuring that no Infection Prevention and Control issues are raided within this process.




In the event that a manager considers an employee to be in breach of the Staff Uniform and Appearance/Dress Code, then he/she will discuss this with the individual concerned and may, if necessary require the individual to return in their own time to make appropriate adjustments.


Repeated breaches of the Code will be viewed as misconduct and will be addressed in accordance with the Companies Disciplinary policy.


Undertaking Training


Whilst undertaking training, all staff may wear smart casual clothes and footwear, as appropriate to the training being undertaken.




All staff on commencement of employment will be informed there is a dress code and will be required to read it in full. All staff are required to keep themselves up to date with all policy a minimum of yearly. As an Equal Opportunities employer the code applies equally to all staff.








Policy review date: