29 July 2015

National Hairdressers’ Federation chief executive Hilary Hall said:

It’s no secret that the hair and beauty industry has a poor reputation for non-compliance. The NHBF has worked hard to ensure salon members know the correct national minimum wage rates, but our experience in handling thousands of calls each year shows that implementation is not as straightforward as it appears at first glance. 

In an industry where apprenticeships are the main route into employment, the sheer numbers involved show that apprenticeship rates are the most common cause of unintentional errors. We have repeatedly called for a single rate for apprentices because under the current system the rates vary for those under 19 and those aged 19 or over, depending on whether or not they have completed the first year of an apprenticeship. 

The age of the apprentice, the stage they’ve reached on their apprenticeship programme, the type of contract or deeds they are issued with, the complexity of the current apprenticeship frameworks (which vary between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), what happens if apprentices complete their programme earlier or later than expected or progress onto another apprenticeship - these are all minefields for small employers. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the national minimum wage for employers in hair and beauty, covering all these points and more. 

We fully support the HM Revenue & Customs campaign which offers a window of opportunity for salon owners to check their pay rates and put things right without fear of hefty fines or public ‘naming and shaming’. But, quite rightly, once that window closes, HMRC will come down hard on salon owners who break the law by failing to pay at least the national minimum wage. The time for hair and beauty employers to give excuses about not knowing the right rates to pay is over.