Casual hairdressers win pay-rise top up

Australian Workers Union national secretary Daniel Walton. Picture: Grant Wells.
Australian Workers Union national secretary Daniel Walton. Picture: Grant Wells.

Casual hairdressers working weekends are set to gain pay rises of up to $92 a week by 2023, two years after employers tried to cut their penalty rates.

Dubbed the nation’s “lowest paid tradies”, hairdressers working Saturday and Sunday casual shifts will see their hourly pay increase by 25 per cent over 2½ years after Hair and Beauty Australia agreed to pay them a casual loading on top of weekend penalty rates.

The agreement, which brings hairdressing into line with other sectors, came after unions agreed to phase in the increases and drop their claim for a casual loading on public holidays.

Subject to approval by the Fair Work Commission, weekend casual loading rates will increase in 5 per cent increments from January 31, 2022, to December 31, 2023. Union officials said the total increase would be $5.75 an hour, implemented in five $1.15 an hour increments. Casuals doing a _single weekend shift would see their pay increase by $46 or $92 for both days.

After cutting Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in the retail, hospitality and pharmacy industries in 2017, the commission embarked on a review of penalty rates in the hair and beauty industry.

Employers sought to cut the pay of thousands of hair and beauty workers by urging the commission to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates.

In January 2021, a commission full bench rejected the claim, finding the pay cuts would likely reduce the earnings of already low-paid workers.

During the current case, the commission said provisions in the Hair and Beauty Industry Award that allowed for similar rates of pay for permanent and casual workers on weekends were not consistent with its major penalty rates decision in 2017.

HABA national president Maureen Harding said the agreed position was fair and sensible and recognised many hair and beauty businesses were struggling from the effects of lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions.

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