what are the tools of your trade?

October 6th 2020

In many businesses it is common for employees to provide some or all their own tools – for example mechanics, plumbers, builders, hairdressers.

These tools, equipment, devices, or machinery are required to complete your trade, occupation, or profession.    Equally for some businesses the tools are a mobile phone and laptop.

We recommend you agree upfront between the employer and employee, and reflected in your employment agreement or company policy if:

If it important that the employee understands what is provided by the company and what is expected of them to maintain.  Additionally, if you pay a tool allowance, outline what that allocation covers financially and what items are covered, ensuring everyone understands what is expected, for example.

If the employee can use the tools for personal activities, it is important to outline what is acceptable and what cost to the employee i.e. Replacement of gas bottle for BBQ.

Equally your employee may use their personal mobile phone, on their own mobile plan for business calls.  It is important to agree what your expectations are, if it is only for basic contact throughout the day, then perhaps a contribution towards their plan is agreeable. 

And finally, if the employee leaves what do you expect them to return – all tools, equipment, and machinery, but do you want second hand workboots, or a very used raincoat?  PPE is as much a tool of your trade as a power drill, do you want used gear returned, or do you set a timeframe for its lifecycle?  This is another area to outline at the outset, factor it into an authorised deduction or under termination of employment. 

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