Summer is here and Christmas is around the corner, which means holidays! 🏖 While it’s the busiest time of year for most salons, you need to make sure you get a break too! Your employer is not obliged to accept every leave request, but they must not unreasonably refuse to agree to a request for annual leave. If you’ve given them plenty of notice and the salon won’t be short-staffed without you and they’re still saying no, then you have a problem.

There are a few rules around annual leave, some of which are super obscure, so we thought we’d break it down so you’re in the know. This is important stuff so it’s worth the read. All of this info is from the Hair and Beauty Award and is legally binding! 👩‍⚖️

Annual leave loading

When you take annual leave, you’ll get an extra percentage on top of your hourly rate. This is a legal requirement! The loading will either be:

Taking annual leave in advance

Sometimes you don’t have quite enough leave for that Chrismas vaycay – but that’s OK! Your employer isn’t required to give you leave in advance, but if you do put in a request, here’s what you need to know:

  • You need to put a statement in writing of the leave you’re taking, and sign it.
  • Your agreement needs to include the amount of leave to be taken and the date the annual leave starts. Here’s an example agreement.
  • Your employer must keep a copy of the agreement on file.

If you leave your job before you’ve accrued the leave you’ve taken in advance, your employer may deduct an amount equal to your leave from your payment. If that does happen, make sure the amount that’s deducted matches up!

Cashing out leave

  • You and your employer need to sign a written agreement before cashing out annual leave.
  • Every time annual leave is cashed out, you need to sign a new agreement.
  • Your leave balance post cash-out cannot be less than 4 weeks.
  • You can only cash out a maximum of 2 weeks’ leave every 12 months.

Your employer cannot force or pressure you to cash out your annual leave. They also cannot mislead you (i.e. saying it’s salon policy or that a written agreement isn’t required). Both of these are in breach of the Award and could lead to a fine.  

Excessive leave

Excessive leave is when you have more than 8 weeks in your leave balance. If you have excessive leave, then your employer must give you annual leave under the following conditions:

  • You have tried to reach an agreement to take leave.
  • You’ve had excessive leave accrued for more than 6 months.
  • You will still have at least 6 weeks in your leave balance once leave is granted.
  • Your leave is at least one week.
  • You give eight weeks’ notice in your leave request.

If your leave request adheres to the above, then your employer must grant you the annual leave. Failing to do so is in violation of the Hair and Beauty Award.

If your employer is doing something that goes against any of the above info, then they’re most likely in breach of the Award, and it’s time to call them out on it! 💪 At HSA, our legal and industrial experts help with all sorts of disputes and can make sure you’re getting your annual leave entitlements – and take action if your employer still won’t adhere to the law. Sign up today and our team will be in touch to help you regain your workplace rights!