Part of the responsibilities being employed in the food services industry (owned by a Jew) involves laundry of the establishment’s cloths, towels, aprons, etc… Can the Jewish employees wash and wear clean aprons, etc… Thanks.
Is this permissible during the 9 days and/or Chol HaMoed?
On Chol Hamoed there is no issue of wearing clean clothes but washing them would be an issue, and they should be washed before Yom Tov. Additionally, if according to the circumstances, not doing the laundry, will cause the company of the employee a substantial loss i.e. he will be fired or the company will lose customers, then it would be considered a davar ha’aved, and permitted.
Regarding the nine days, there are two separate issues, washing them and wearing the cleanly laundered clothing. Regarding wearing them during the nine days, if possible the employees should wear the newly washed clothing before the nine days or put them on the floor and step on them to take out their freshness. Regarding washing them during the nine days, there is room to be lenient if all the towels, or aprons etc. will become very dirty and won’t be usable, as this would be similar to the clothing of small children, that regularly get soiled, then it would be permitted to wash them. Additionally, as mentioned before, if according to the circumstances, not doing the laundry, will cause the company of the employee a substantial loss he will be fired or the company will lose customers, then it would be considered a davar ha’aved, and permitted during Chol Hamoed or during the nine days. Needless to say, this would only be as a last resort, that it isn’t possible to work it out that beforehand there should be enough to last them for the whole period. Additionally, they would also be required to minimize doing the laundry to just whatever is actually needed to avoid a davar ha’aved. Additionally, one should consult their Rov, to verify that your circumstances apply to this, because these things have to be evaluated on an individual basis.
O:CH 539-4, Taz 551-1, Kovetz Halachos (Bein Hamitzarim) 6-6 ftnt. 7 , 11-25, Halichos Shlomo 14 ftnt. 42, Igros Moshe O:CH 4-102, 5-24(9).