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PwC Australia abandons compulsory dress code

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THE Australian arm of PwC has scrapped its mandatory “modern professional” dress code for both male and female employees, claiming that the move will help staff become more innovative and creative.

The accountancy firm previously required all employees to possess a “modern professional” style, with men wearing suits and business-appropriate socks, while women were obliged to wear tailored dresses or trousers.

But now the firm’s Australian arm has pulled a U-turn, allowing it’s employees to make their own decision on what to wear in the office.

“It’s not a dress up or dress down policy — all we are asking our people to do is think about what they are doing each day, who they are doing it with, and dress in a way that reflects that,” said Sue Horlin, partner at PwC Australia.

“We trust our people to use their judgement and common sense, and we firmly believe this small but symbolic gesture will help people be more comfortable, more confident and therefore deliver fantastic service to our clients.

“In an environment where we are asking our people to be more innovative and creative, it just didn’t feel right to keep mandating what our people wear,” added Horlin, who said the response to PwC’s decision has “been fantastic”.

This move comes just weeks after PwC’s British arm came under criticism after one of its temporary workers was sent home for not wearing high-heeled shoes.

Nicola Thorp, a 27 year-old temporary worker from Hackney arrived to work at one of PwC’s London offices on 7 December 2015 only to be told she must wear shoes “with a two-to-four inch heel” and was subsequently sent home without pay by the outsourced staff agency Portico, which provides PwC’s receptionists.

Since the incident PwC told Portico to review and revise its policy, which the company changed so that “female colleagues can wear plain flat shoes or plain court shoes as they prefer”.

In response to the latest media coverage about dress codes of other PwC network firms, Gaenor Bagley, PwC’s UK head of people, said: “We’ve had a flexible approach to how our people dress for work in the UK for a number of years – it’s important that our people can be themselves at work and that we respect our clients and colleagues. We trust our people to use their judgement on what’s appropriate to wear.”

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