While Hair and Beauty Australia (HABA) had been lobbying to reduce Sunday and public holiday rates for those employed in salons and clinics, the Fair Work Commission has found there was “insufficient evidence” to support the employer push to cut the pay of hair and beauty workers by up to $91 a week.
Employers had been hoping to get the green light to slash penalty rates, taking Sundays from double time to time-and-a-half, and public holiday rates from double-time-and-a-half to double-time-and-a-quarter.
With approximately 35,400 beauty therapists employed in Australia, the Fair Work Commission found that the proposed cuts would leave workers severely out of pocket and have a direct effect on living standards.
It’s a call that both employers and workers have been feeling anxious about for the last two years. In 2017 the commission cut penalty rates for retail and hospitality, and announced it would be reviewing the rates for the beauty industry.
Representing employers, HABA stated that salons were “struggling to operate under the current high penalty rates and were hoping for similar relief to that previously granted to employers operating in the broader retail sector.”
However, it seems it was the already low award rates earned by beauty workers that influenced the decision not to allow the cuts to come into effect. While hourly Sunday rates range from $42.82 to $49.32, HABA was seeking a new rate of $32.11 to $36.99.
“To say I’m relieved is an understatement,” said Sydney beauty therapist Justine O’Connor. “I am trying to save for my wedding, and I just can’t do that, pay my rent and eat on any less than I am earning now. I already run my life on such a shoe string.”
For more news and updates, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.