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Standing up: what to do if you aren’t respected

May 4, 2020

With all the different rules and restrictions, stand-downs and closures across the industry, we’re seeing a number of employers who aren’t doing the right thing and withholding pay or entitlements from their workers. If you’re concerned that you’re not receiving everything you’re owed, what can you do?

HSA spoke to one of our ambassadors, Joel, about what you need to do if your rights or entitlements are under attack due to COVID-19.

  1. Get the facts

Because the situation is always changing, you need to make sure you have the most up to date information. Keep up to date by following our Facebook pages, where we have the latest news and changes. “Whenever there was an update from the government,” Joel says, “HSA was straight onto it for info, letting everyone know what was going on. That is what you want to see.”

We’ve seen a lot of misinformation online about COVID-19, JobKeeper, and other government packages, which is why we’ve put together all the key info on our website. Everything is cross-checked by our legal team for accuracy, and we have more detailed information, including flyers and hand-outs, especially for members.

If you still need more special advice, HSA has legal and industrial experts on call to talk our members through any unique circumstances. We know the Fair Work Act, the Hair and Beauty Award and all the latest government announcements inside and out.

2. Ask!

“The most important thing,” he says, “is don’t be afraid to ask what you’re entitled to.” Joel used to be too afraid to speak up when he wasn’t receiving breaks or other entitlements, but since joining HSA and becoming an ambassador, he’s built up the confidence to question his employers if there’s something wrong.

“They can’t punish you,” he says. “Ask for it. There is nothing to be afraid of. Nothing can happen.”

If you aren’t sure how to take that first step, HSA can help you draft an email or SMS that’s clear, concise and to the point.

3. Take it further

If you’ve tried to speak to your employer, and have been ignored or shut down, HSA can help you take the situation further. Whether it’s putting in a claim with Fair Work, writing a legal letter or organising a mediation, we have heaps of experience and can talk you through your options, and support you with legal advice along the way.

When things aren’t going right for you, taking control of the situation can feel daunting. A big part of what we do in HSA is empowering hair and beauty workers, and help you build the courage you need to fight for your entitlements.

Joel is someone who was terrified of speaking out, but is now confident enough to stand up when he knows something isn’t right. “Ignorance is bliss – once I left the salon I started my apprenticeship, I had to look after everything myself.”

“Don’t be afraid to confront your boss about something you are entitled to and rightfully yours. You have to stand up for what you want and what you have earned.”

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