Many jobs require employees to spend large parts of their work day out in the sun being exposed to the sun’s damaging rays. For carpenters, bricklayers, gardeners, truck drivers, labourers, etc. this is unavoidable.
If the nature of an employee’s work requires them to be out in the sun for a large part of their work day, then they can claim a deduction for the cost of sunglasses, hats and sunscreen lotions that are used to protect themselves at work. These items are deductible as they protect the employee from harm, or skin cancer while they are doing their job.
This does not mean that an office worker who collects the mail during work hours and is in the sun for 15 minutes per day will be allowed a tax deduction for sunglasses and sunscreens.
Also, if the sun protection items are also used for private purposes then the expenses will need to be apportioned. So, for example, if $300 sunglasses are used 50% for private purposes, then the deduction is $150.
Employers need to be aware that both State and Federal Laws require them to provide their employees with a safe working environment, so far as is reasonably practical. This means employers have a legal obligation to provide employees who spend large parts of their work day in the sun with sunglasses, hats, and sunscreens.