Some Hunter hairdressing employees are a little better off after the Fair Work Ombudsman recovered more than $86,000 for workers in New South Wales as part of a national campaign focusing on hair and beauty salons.
Yesterday they reported that of the 267 audits completed in NSW, Fair Work Inspectors found 128 employers (48 per cent) were compliant with workplace laws, while 139 (52 per cent) were in breach.
Of those in breach, 86 businesses were found to have underpaid 162 employees a total of $86,655, while others had record-keeping and technical contraventions.
Businesses found to have underpaid staff were at locations including Newcastle, Maitland and Singleton with inspectors finding that a significant number of employers in NSW were underpaying staff because they had not applied the July 2012 annual wage increase.
A number of employers had also underpaid juniors and apprentices as a result of not increasing their wages on the employee's birthday or on progression to the next year of an apprenticeship.
Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, said Fair Work Inspectors assisted all employers to voluntarily rectify non-compliance issues and put processes in place to ensure they were not repeated.
“While the overall contravention rate was concerning, it is pleasing that all employers were willing to back-pay their staff without the need for further action,” Natalie said.
The campaign focussed on hair, nail and beauty salons and was prompted by the sector consistently generating a significant number of complaints to the Fair Work Ombudsman each year.
“We are conscious that the hair and beauty industry employs a significant number of young workers who can be vulnerable if they are not fully aware of their rights or are reluctant to complain, so it is important we are proactive about ensuring they are being paid correctly.”
Ms James said it was disappointing that the compliance rate discovered during the campaign was lower than the 62 per cent compliance rate found during a national campaign in 2009 focusing on the hair and beauty industry.
“We were also disappointed that some employers are still not aware of the need to pay their employees for compulsory in-house and external training, when it is not part of vocational training.
As part of the campaign, the Fair Work Ombudsman wrote to more than 17,000 hair and beauty businesses nationally to highlight the free, tailored resources available to help them to understand and comply with workplace laws as easily as possible.
As part of the campaign, the Fair Work Ombudsman also distributed 60,000 educational postcards aimed at young hair and beauty industry workers through cafes, bars, tertiary institutes and other venues nationally.