A standard contract of employment cannot cover every possible employment issue that a salon owner is likely to face. This is why salons have separate policies and a salon rules list.
David Wright who advises habia and a number of UK salons tackles a range of questions from salon owners regarding such tricky issues.
In my contracts it states “working hours” – should I detail the actual working pattern?
Legally you have to specify the total number of working hours, for example, 38 per week. However, specifying the actual pattern may be limiting at a later date as the hours become contractual and difficult to change. I recommend quoting the total and indicating that the rota is subject to regular review to meet salon demand.
Do I need to include a date when an employee’s salary is subject to review?
Ideally, yes. Some salons do this on the anniversary of the employee’s appointment. I advise against this as it results in staff being on different rates of pay and must make wage cost planning difficult. A total salon review on 1 April or 1 October (to coincide with the minimum wage review) is preferable.
When does the contract start from?
It starts from the employee’s first day at work. You should not exclude any trial or probationary period of service. When an employee is promoted or, for example, moved from apprenticeship to stylist there should be two dates – the start date in the new job and the date of continuous service, in other words the original start date. It will be the original start date which is used for working out notice.
The minimum leave is 28 days. In the holiday section do I quote 28 days or 20 days plus eight bank holidays?
I would certainly quote 28 days. There is no separate legal entitlement to paid bank holidays and many salons actually open on some bank holidays.
With the increased holiday entitlement I am finding it difficult to accommodate all the staff leave requests. What advice can you give me?
The minimum leave has increased from 20 days to 28 days in under two years. Some salons insist, in their salon rules, that leave has to be requested four to eight weeks in advance. Other salons limit the number of staff who can be off at any time. It is similarly possible to require staff to take a portion of their leave in quieter months or even reserve the right to fix one week’s leave.
In my contracts where I cover working hours, do I include or exclude breaks?
This entirely depends on your salon practice. For example a stylist might be employed for 40 hours and has a 30-minute paid break each day. Alternatively, there might be a 30-minute unpaid break in which case the hours are 37.5 per week. You should state if your breaks are paid or unpaid.
After a spate of thefts involving stock I have an idea who the culprit is. The next time stock is missing can I ask staff to empty their bags?
Some salons have policies regarding staff bags – for example, they are only allowed to bring a small handbag in to work and this must be left in the staff room. In your circumstances you can certainly ask staff if they are willing to empty their bags. However, while it might be distasteful, I recommend that you have a clause in your contract giving you the “right of search”. This gives you full protection and you could base a disciplinary decision on an employee’s refusal to allow the search.
I allow my staff to give discount on treatments to family members but I feel this is being abused. What do you suggest?
This is a good example of something which you should include in your salon rules. If it isn’t in the contract it is easier to change and you need to be specific as to the agreement. For example, some salons limit the discount to one per month or insist they can be undertaken when there is space on the column.
Is it necessary to have a salon uniform policy or should this go in the contract?
There is no legal requirement to have a uniform policy and personally I wouldn’t advise including your rules in the contract as it is likely the uniform practices will change over time. You could produce a separate policy but most salons simply have a paragraph in their salon rules.The uniform requirements might be specific as to what is worn or what can’t be worn, for example trainers or jeans. Similarly, some salons have specific rules regarding jewellery and/or tattoos. Another issues to consider is the frequency of provision of uniforms or whether staff have to purchase their own and what happens if they leave.
More of David Wright’s Legal Advice for Salon Owners