Your salon or barbershop employees will have legal rights as soon as they accept your offer of employment and turn up for their first day of work – even during their probationary period.

Remember that a verbal offer and acceptance also means that a legal contract is in place (it doesn’t have to be in writing) and your employee’s rights will kick in from day one of their employment.

Bear in mind that part-time and fixed-term workers must be treated the same as a full-time or permanent employee.

Probationary periods are NOT appropriate for apprentices as they are taken on to be trained and therefore have greater protection against dismissal. The NHBF apprenticeship agreements do not include a probationary period for this reason.  

Find out more about selecting and training apprentices.


This blog post covers:

Probationary period for salon and barbershop staff

When you take on a new member of staff in your hair/beauty salon or barbershop you will almost certainly employ them on a probationary basis at first.

NHBF Members can download free employee contracts and employee handbooks. NHBF contracts specify an initial probationary period of three months which can be extended to six months if necessary. Become a Member today

Use the probationary period wisely. Make time for regular performance reviews, offer constructive feedback and keep records of all feedback given. Proactive performance management early on will help to mould the kind of team player you want your new member of staff to become in the long-term. 

Retain your salon staff

Discover how to recruit the right salon team.

Day-one entitlement to written terms and conditions

From April 2020, a new employee must be given a written statement that includes all the terms and conditions of their job on the first day of their employment.

This is a change from the current law which says you must do this within two months.

The NHBF's contracts and staff handbooks which are free to Members include all the necessary terms and conditions. It's good practice to send out the contract for signing with the offer letter in advance of day one.

 Terms and conditions

NHBF Members have free 24/7 access to our indispensable employment law telephone helpline. Not yet a Member? To get instant access to this invaluable benefit, join now for less than 80p a day

Updated employment contracts

The NHBF is advising Members who employ staff to update their employment contracts and staff handbooks to ensure they comply with new laws that will apply from April 2020. 

“As a Member, you can download the NHBF’s updated employment contract and staff handbook free of charge,” says NHBF director Tina Beaumont-Goddard, “and we’re also providing a letter that you can give to your employees to explain the changes. You must use the updated contract for new staff employed from 6 April 2020. 

“However, you only need to give existing staff the updated contract if they ask for one or if their terms of their employment change. You would have to do this within one month.” 

The changes in the contract and handbook cover a number of different issues, including:

  • Hours of work.
  • Rights in relation to different types of leave.
  • Training requirements.
  • Performance improvement procedures (PIP).
  • Use of work telephones for personal calls.

For more information about this, please call our friendly membership team on 01234 831965, 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

Don't forget: strict data protection rules apply under GDPR. Find out how to stay within the law: download our detailed Members-only guide to GDPR

National Minimum wage 

Your employee must be paid the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage (if over 25 years old). Find out more about the National Minimum Wage. This includes during their probabionary period.

Our free expert guide to the NMW and NLW is available to NHBF Members only. It includes detailed information about how the NMW and NLW impact the hair, beauty and barbering industry.

Pay slips

You must also give your employees a proper itemised pay slip.

Payslips – changes from April 2019

From April 2019, you must give staff who are classed as ‘workers’ an itemised payslip. Staff who are classed as ‘employees’ are already entitled to itemised payslips. 

In addition, from April 2019, all itemised payslips must also include:

• the total number of paid hours; or
• a breakdown of hours paid for different types of work and/or at different rates of pay.

This is in addition to information such as gross salary, salary after tax, tax, National Insurance contributions and any other deductions.

Find out more about the difference between workers and employees on the GOV.UK website


Working hours and breaks 

The law says that most employees – including new employees on probation – should not work more than 48 hours a week. This includes overtime.

Employees under the age of 18 should not work more than 40 hours a week.

(There are exceptions to these rules, but they do not apply to people working in beauty/hair salons or barbershops.)

All employees, including new staff, are legally entitled to rest breaks. For employees aged over 18, these are:

• 20 minutes break if working more than six hours a day.
• 11 hours rest between working days.
• One rest day (24 hours) per working week.

For salon/barbershop employees over school leaving age but under 18, these are:

• 30 minutes break if working more than four hours 30 minutes a day.
• 12 hours between working days.
• Two rest days (48 hours) per week.

Annual leave entitlement: new employees 

Your employee’s annual leave entitlement will start to build up from day one of their employment. You cannot withhold annual leave entitlement until their probationary period is at an end.

However: in the first year you can allow your employee one month’s accrued leave entitlement at a time. So your new employee would have to wait until they have built up enough leave before taking time off.

Very often, a new employee will already have a holiday booked when they start work with you.

The law says that you do not have to allow your new employee to take their holiday. However, you will probably want to avoid the bad feeling that refusing annual leave for a pre-booked holiday would cause.

Try to avoid this situation by finding out at the job offer stage what holiday your new employee is planning.

Annual leave entitlement: permanent employees

UK law says all employees are entitled to paid holiday. Full-time employees are legally entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave.

This means that a stylist or therapist who works five days a week should get at least 28 days’ paid annual leave. Part-time employees’ annual leave will be pro rata depending on how many hours/days they work each week.

Unless otherwise stated in the contract or employee handbook, your employee should let you know in plenty of time if they want to take annual leave. For example, if they want one week’s holiday, they should give you at least two weeks’ notice.

NHBF Members can call our friendly membership team for free expert help with annual leave entitlement including working out how much paid holiday your employees are entitled to. 

Find out about new holiday pay calculations for employees who work overtime on a regular basis.

Annual leave

Maternity and paternity rights 

Your employees will be entitled to maternity and paternity rights.

Find out more about maternity and paternity rights in our blog post.

Our in-depth guide to pregnancy and parenting is available for download to NHBF Members only. Not yet a Member? Join for less than 80p a day.  

Workplace pension schemes

If you employ people in your salon or barbershop the law says you must provide a workplace pension. Find out more in our blog post.

Dismissing your salon or barbershop staff

You will have the right to dismiss a new employee if their performance is not good enough to pass the probationary period. You may also consider extending their probationary period. 

From time to time, you will need to deal with a permanent member of staff who is underperforming. Remember that they may be trying to cope with a personal or workplace difficulty which is affecting their performance, so always be sensitive and caring when discussing solutions with them.

If under-performance persists despite your best efforts to sort things out informally, you will need to start formal disciplinary proceedings as set out in your staff handbook. But to avoid potential employment tribunals always get legal advice before taking action. NHBF Members benefit from a free 24/7 HR helpline. Find out more:

Hair salons and barbershops
Beauty salons 

Notice periods

If your employee has worked in your salon or barbershop for at least one month on a continuous basis (but less than two years), you must give them at least one week’s notice that their employment is coming to an end, or the length of notice stated in their contract if different.

Other rights

Other rights will depend on length of service. For example, your employee will need to have completed 26 weeks’ continuous service to request flexible working. Contractual or company benefit schemes may be withheld until the probationary period is complete.

Members can download our flexible working fact sheet.

Brexit and EU employees

In most cases, EU citizens (includes EEA and Swiss nationals) will need to apply for ‘settled status’ so they can carry on living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021. 

Who is eligible to apply for settled status?

  • EU citizens (or a non-EU family member of an EU citizen) who have been a resident in the UK for five continuous years or more will be eligible for settled status. 
  • With less than five continuous years as a resident, they will be eligible for ‘pre-settled’ status, which allows them to stay in the UK for a period of five years.  They can apply for settled status once they have met the five years residency requirement. 

Employer toolkit

As an employer, you are not required to check that your employee has applied. However, you may wish to let them know about the scheme (you are not legally required to do so).

Download an employer toolkit about the EU settlement scheme from the government website.

Your employee does not have to tell you they have applied for settled status, or the outcome of their application. Also:

  • You must not discriminate against EU citizens because of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. This applies to current employees and when you are recruiting new employees.
  • You cannot make an offer of employment or continued employment based on whether or not the person has applied for settled status.

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until after 30 June 2021 (or 31 December 2020 if there is a no-deal Brexit).

Find out more on the government website.


  • Employees have rights from day one.
  • Part-time and fixed-term employees have the same rights as full-time workers.
  • Provide full written terms and conditions within two months – but preferably before employment starts.
  • All employees including new staff must be paid the National Minimum Wage.
  • You must provide itemised pay slips.
  • Working hours and rest break laws apply to all employees.
  • Annual leave builds up for new employees from day one.
  • Ask in advance what holiday your new employee has booked.
  • Your employees will have maternity and paternity rights.
  • You must provide a workplace pension scheme.