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How Should Salons Handle Public Holidays Over The Festive Season?

Ah, Christmas – a time of presents, loved ones and… navigating somewhat complicated business necessities over the many public holidays that finish the year.


Ok, so that last one is a little less festive than the other two, but just as crucial for your salon this December.

The Hair and Beauty Australia Industry Association (HABA) is here to explain the appropriate way to pay an employee this Christmas and New Year and how to manage a shutdown period – so that you can get back to focusing on the present and loved ones side of things.

Here are some frequently asked questions, answered.

1. How do I pay my employees this season?

If this is in regards to a permanent employee who usually works on a day that has been declared a public holiday, they are paid the base rate for that day if the salon is closed. If the salon is open and the employee works on that day, they should be paid the public holiday penalty rate as outlined in the HABA wages sheet. Employees will be paid the base rate of pay if the salon is open and the employee has chosen not to work.

For permanent employees who don’t usually work on the day that has now been declared a public holiday, they do not receive payment or a day in lieu for this day, as it does not make up their ordinary hours per week.

2. What happens with public holidays during a salon shut down?

Employers can require employees to take annual leave by providing 4 weeks’ notice in writing, however if this shut down period falls on a day a permanent employee usually works, then this day won’t be deducted from their annual leave. If the employee does not have enough annual leave accrued and elects to be unpaid over this time, the salon will still be required to pay them the base rate on the public holidays if it was a day they usually would have worked.

3. Can I change my employees’ rostered day off to a public holiday so they can work on the Monday before Christmas?

Under clause 29.5 of the Hair and Beauty Award you cannot change an employees’ roster with the intent of avoiding payment of overtime penalties, public holiday rates or any other award benefits applicable. This means if you wish for your permanent employees to work on a rostered day off, you would need to pay them double time for all hours for a minimum of 4 hours and the rostered day off would need to remain as per the usual roster.

For more information call 1800 997 795 or visit

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