Should practices pay for employee scrubs or let them buy their own?

Across the United States and Canada, whether your practice provides scrubs to employees is going to depend on several operational factors. If you find yourself in the position of choosing whether or not to buy or rent scrubs for your employees, or pass the cost off onto the individual, there are several advantages and disadvantages of either scenario to consider.  

In this article, we break down some the factors to weigh before deciding.  

It’s cheaper to pass the bill.  

If we’re looking at a black and white cost analysis, it’s less expensive to have employees supply their own scrubs. Not only do you avoid the initial purchase, but you may also avoid recurring laundering, replacement, or damage fees.  

Especially for smaller practices or those with limited budgets, providing scrubs to employees may be burdensome. Many of these practices may opt to reimburse employees for the cost of purchasing scrubs or partner with a provider who will sell scrubs to employees at a discounted rate. 

Money isn’t the only consideration.  

There are some advantages to supplying uniform scrubs that you might want to weigh against the cost disadvantage. These include: 

  • Maintaining consistent standards of professionalism across all employees. 
  • Maintaining consistent quality standards, including investing in materials with fluid resistance. 
  • Contributing to employee satisfaction and retention by providing them with a uniform, rather than putting the onus on them. 

Owning or renting your employees’ scrubs means you also have better control over their laundering. Depending on the line of work your practice does, this might be in the best interest of everyone, including your patients. Bacteria and other harmful agents can linger on scrubs long after a shift ends, leading to increased chances of infection inside and outside your practice.  

Why do some employees prefer buying for themselves? 

Despite the cost on them, some staff may actually prefer buying their own scrubs. Not only does it give them control over the fit, color, and style, but some individuals have sensory preferences when it comes to factors like fabric, necklines, etc. Depending on the size of your staff, and their individual needs on the job, allowing them the freedom to make these decisions for themselves might make for a more harmonious working environment.  

In conclusion… 

Deciding whether to pay for scrubs or let employees buy their own is going to depend on your line of work, staff size, requirements, and other unique variables. 

However, if you do choose to supply your employees’ scrubs, ensuring that you’re paying fair market rates, and have an optimized laundering and delivery schedule, should those needs apply, is crucial for your practice’s financial wellbeing.