HABA Answer Your Salon Head Scratchers

Got a question? Industry association, Hair & Beauty Australia, has you sorted.

Running a salon can be full of dilemmas, like how to handle employee leave, and what to do with staff during ‘dead’ periods, so we got industry association, Hair & Beauty Australia (HABA) to set things straight. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions by beauty professionals on managing a salon…

Some days, the salon is really quiet and my employees have not made bookings for the afternoon, can I send my employees home early?

You can send an employee home early if it is quiet or if they do not have any bookings, however, the question which you should probably be asking is whether or not this employee goes home with or without pay.

Full or part time employees are guaranteed hours, as set out in their contract. They are viewed to be permanent staff members. Therefore you can not send your employee home without pay, even if they do not have any bookings, nor if it is quiet in the afternoon. If you do send your employee home, you should know that you should be paying them for the remainder of their shift to ensure they have been paid for their guaranteed hours per week.

The exception to this rule is a casual employee. Casual employees are generally employed on an ‘as needed’ basis, and therefore may be sent home in the event their service is no longer required. However, it is important that the casual employee has worked the minimum shift requirements before being sent home. Under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award, the minimum shift requirement is three hours.

The exception to this rule is in the event there isn’t enough work due to a break down in machinery or equipment or a reason in which you have no direct responsibility over, such as a natural disaster, the employee may be stood down.

I have an employee who has a lot of annual leave accrued however has made no requests for taking any. Can I cash out their leave?

Under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award there is currently no provision for an employee to cash out their annual or personal carer’s leave. As this is not provided for in the award, employers can not pay out any leave unless the employee physically takes the leave.

It is not enough that the employee agrees in writing to be paid out the leave. It is against the National Employment Standards, which underpin all employment, to cash out leave unless there is a provision in the relevant award.

The only exception to the above is if an employer is covered by an enterprise agreement, which is an agreement which was entered into and approved by Fair Work prior to the Fair work system coming into effect. Should an enterprise agreement provide a provision for cashing out leave, this is the only circumstance in which an employer and an employee may mutually agree to cash out their leave.

It is important if there is a provision for cashing out leave that the amount of leave cashed out is in line with the relevant agreement. If your enterprise agreement does not have a clause on this aspect, you may not cash out any form of leave.

I have an employee on a probationary period but I need more time working with them. Is it possible to extend the probationary period?

A probation period is generally a short period from the date of commencement of employment with a salon in which the employer assesses the suitability of the employee for the role and the employee has the opportunity to determine if the role is suitable to meet their needs. Probationary periods also allow either party to end the employment with one week’s notice.

The Fair Work Act no longer makes reference to a period of probation and therefore probationary periods are at the discretion of the employer.

If an employer chooses to extend an employer’s probationary period this may be done so long as the employee is advised that the probation has been extended. Additionally, it is always advisable to have the written employment agreement to state the probationary period may be extended at the discretion of the employer.

It is important to remember while you may extend the probationary period, the probationary period of employment is not exempt from unfair dismissal laws. Therefore regardless of whether your employee is on a probationary basis, if they reach the qualifying period for access to unfair dismissal legislation it is important to ensure a termination is procedurally fair.

The qualifying period for access to unfair dismissal remedy is six months for large businesses with 15 or more employees, and 12 months for small businesses with less than 15 employees.

For more commonly asked questions on running your salon, head to hairandbeautyaustralia.com.au.


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