Victorian hair-and-beauty salons back-pay employees $134,000

9 May 2013

More than 170 staff in hairdressing and beauty salons across Victoria have been repaid more than $134,000 in wages, as a result of an audit of the industry by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The campaign focused on apprentices and involved audits of more 243 hair-and-beauty salons. Only 70 (29 per cent) of employers were found to be meeting all their obligations under workplace laws.

Of the 173 businesses (71 per cent) in breach of workplace laws, inspectors found 99 businesses had underpaid 178 employees a total of $134,521, with individual underpayments ranging from $45 to almost $10,000.

Other breaches identified included employers requiring staff to complete unpaid training; failure to provide payslips and maintain proper records.

Businesses which underpaid workers were located across Melbourne’s suburbs and in Ararat, Ballarat, Castlemaine, Churchill, Cobram, Echuca, Geelong, Kyneton, Mornington, Portland, Sale, Sunbury, Swan Hill, Torquay, Traralgon and Warrnambool.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman, Michael Campbell, said the audit showed many employers had increased the wages of apprentices as they advanced through their apprenticeship, but had not passed on other annual wage increases which apply to most staff in the industry.

Mr Campbell said the hair-and-beauty industry was targeted because it employs many young apprentices and is a persistent source of complaints to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“Young workers can be vulnerable, as they’re often not fully aware of their workplace rights and can be reluctant to complain,” Mr Campbell said.

“The high rate of workplace contraventions we found is concerning, but we were pleased that all employers voluntarily back-paid workers and fixed other issues.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman is currently conducting a national campaign aimed at improving compliance with workplace laws in the hair-and-beauty industry.

Employers and employees seeking information should use the free tools and resources available at www.fairwork.gov.au which includes an ‘Industries’ section with information specific to the hair-and-beauty sector, or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Find out more:

Media inquiries:

Tom McPherson, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9603 0741
media@fwo.gov.au

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