News and Features

Employment contracts – put it on paper

At TrichoCare Education we talk to lots of salon owners and managers regularly, and one worry that often comes up in our chats is employment disputes. There can scarcely be a salon or business that hasn’t at some time had a problem with an employee or freelancer over absence, pay, hours or some other kind of disagreement.

With the new workplace pension rules now in place, the increase in the national minimum wage just round the corner, and the new living wage coming in next year, there are lots of reasons why salons should take a look again at their employment contracts.

So it’s timely that the National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF) has issued new advice on employment contracts on their website, under the title:

Employment contracts, it’s just good business

It can be all too easy for small businesses to rely on trust and good faith in their employee relationships – after all we’re a very people-oriented profession. But employment disputes have a nasty habit of appearing from nowhere. And if you haven’t got your paperwork in order, you can be hit financially and your reputation damaged. No salon owner wants to end up before an employment tribunal.

 “You need something which is both legal and relevant for your salon” says NHF chief executive Hilary Hall. “Even the smallest salon is still a business. It makes sense to have a formal contract to give you peace of mind and greater protection when you’re employing staff.  The same applies to renting out chairs or treatment rooms – you need a contract to establish the boundaries of the relationship and outline the expectations of both parties.”

A written employment contract sets out the terms and conditions under which the employee is employed. It imposes a series of legal duties on both the employer and the employee. It should include notice periods, probationary period, as well as obvious details such as the names of the employer and employee, start date, pay arrangements, job title, place and hours of work, holiday entitlement, sick pay arrangements and disciplinary procedures.

If in doubt, salons should consult their solicitors to get proper advice on their employment contracts. Alternatively, the NHF offers free employee contracts, and also chair renting and treatment room contracts, to its members.

However you organise your employment relationships, do take the issue seriously and get proper advice. Put it down in writing and you won’t be sorry.