The haste of beauty employment

By Lesley Scher.

Most of my clients who are clinic owners ensure that what they provide is fair and reasonable regarding employment processes and look after their employees.

Most of my clients who are clinic owners ensure that what they provide is fair and reasonable regarding employment processes and look after their employees.

Having employees is more complicated than in the past. Most clinic owners that are my clients look after each employee and ensure that what you provide, means you have been fair and reasonable.

However, with changes to the Employment Agreement, unfortunately, some employers are forgetting that before making a decision to dismiss an employee, homework has to be done.

  1. At the interview, provide a pre-employment medical questionnaire to be completed and signed, so you are aware of any medical conditions that you may have to take care of once you employ the therapist. 
  2. When you decide to employ a beauty therapist, you must get them to read and sign the agreement at the last page, initial the 90 day trial period paragraph and with the job description, get the therapist to initial as well. This agreement must be emailed or given to the prospective employee at least two days before they begin their work and tell the therapist to read it with a parent, a relation or someone else so they are aware of the different points. They must not start their position until they give the completed agreement to you, the employer, with their signature. All graduates will be aware of this because it is part of all training.
  3. Once the agreement has been signed including how many hours are to be worked, please note that to increase or decrease the hours, the employee has to sign an agreement to this effect. In the agreement you can put flexible hours to be changed in the future if necessary so that safeguards change of hours.
  4. During the first 90 days if you wish the employee to cease the work, because of unreliability, personality, inefficient skills, etc., you must have a meeting with the employee. Tell the employee the reason and give a letter to this effect and get her to sign it. Unfortunately the law has changed and without a reason they can charge for unfair dismissal and win.
  5. After the 90 days are finished, hopefully all is well but sometimes it is not. Some examples are accusing an employee of serious misconduct in error, not getting them to sign the minutes of each of the three meetings or their witness if they choose to have one at the meeting/s. Minutes must always be taken to prove what has happened.
  6. Be aware that the Department of Labour now has a section for employers, which is free and you can phone or email them about a concern and an inspector can assist.
  7. It is important to have a performance meeting so that you can analyse each staff member’s ability with treatments and dealing with clients as well as being a team player.
  8. An example of an error was a clinic where they had an oil heater in the reception area. The owner was overseas and early morning, the staff member accidentally put it on too high by the wall where there was a shelf with papers. In the afternoon one of the therapists smelt smoke and cleverly got the fire extinguisher to dowse the flames before the room was completely damaged. The owner rang me to tell me she had fired the employee immediately on her return for serious misconduct. The reason was no apology for causing the incident and not taking any responsibility for what had happened. This is not seen as a reason to dismiss someone immediately. Even with Employment Practices Insurance, because a lawyer or another counsellor was not chosen to make a decision, the claim was declined. The practice was not fair or reasonable for the employee.
  9. Theft is also not a reason to dismiss someone immediately. “Alleged misappropriation of assets or funds” is the term used. Even if the police are called and the case is going to court, an interview still has to be held with the therapist and their witness to ask why they did this alleged unlawful act. Then the minutes have to be signed by the person, they are told to be absent for a month, to give keys back and to take any of their personal effects home. Any holiday pay owing will be put into their account.

Making a decision in haste is not wise and advice should be requested. As soon as a situation occurs, contact your insurance broker before a decision is made. Employment Practices Insurance will protect you if the opposite happens and the employee accuses you of unfair dismissal or a personal grievance. As long as you can prove you have acted fairly and reasonably you are safe. 

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