Employment obligations in nail salons

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In November 2018, Private Sector Labour Relations began a proactive compliance campaign to educate nail salon businesses about their employment obligations. This was introduced after an initial audit found a large proportion of nail and beauty businesses were not paying their employees correctly. This proactive compliance campaign has now concluded.

The findings from this proactive compliance campaign have been released and can be viewed in the Nail Salons Proactive Compliance Campaign Evaluation Report

The following provides information for employers of nail salons which operate within the state industrial relations system.

Nail salons in the state industrial relations system are those where the business operates as:

  • sole traders (e.g. Jane Smith trading as Jane’s Nails),
  • unincorporated partnerships (e.g. Jane and Bob Smith trading as Jane’s Nails)
  • unincorporated trust arrangements (e.g. Jane and Bob Smith as trustees for the Smith Family Trust trading as Jane’s Nails).

If you operate a nail salon business in the state industrial relations system, you must provide your staff the required entitlements and maintain accurate records.

Key employment obligations for nail salon business owners:

Staff pay and entitlements

You must pay all staff at least the minimum rate of pay relevant to their age for every hour worked in the business.

The correct legal minimum rates of pay are on the minimum pay rates for award free employees page. It is unlawful for employers to pay employees less than the minimum rate of pay.

Review your records and ensure employees are receiving the correct wage for their age and employment type (e.g. casuals must receive a 20% loading).

Leave entitlements

You also must provide leave entitlements for all staff as required by the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 and the Long Service Leave Act 1958.

This quick reference guide shows basic leave entitlements for full time, part time and casual employees. 

Leave entitlement Full time employees Part time employees Casual employees
Paid annual leave Yes Yes No
Paid sick and carers leave Yes Yes No
Unpaid carers leave Yes Yes Yes
Paid bereavement leave Yes Yes Yes
Unpaid parental leave Yes Yes Yes
Paid long service leave Yes Yes Yes


You can find extensive information about annual, sick and other leave or information specifically about long service leave on the Wageline website.

The award free employees minimum pay rates and entitlements publication provides a summary of pay and entitlements for award free employees, including manicurists and nail technicians.

Record keeping

You must keep employment records for all employees of the business.

The Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 specifies that employers must keep employment records for all employees of the business which detail:

  • the employee's name
  • the employee's date of birth if under 21 years of age
  • the date the employment started
  • total number of hours worked each week (this does not apply to employees earning $45,000 or more per year)
  • the gross and net amounts paid to the employee
  • all pay deductions and the reasons for them
  • all leave taken, whether paid, partly paid or unpaid
  • all information required to calculate long service leave entitlements and payment

Employment records can be written or electronic, and must be kept in English.

Visit the record keeping requirements page for more information, including practical, easy to use templates. The templates have been designed to help businesses comply with legislative record keeping requirements.

Employers can be penalised up to $5,000 for not keeping employment records, or for keeping inadequate or fraudulent records.

If I have questions about my employment obligations such as pay rates and leave, who should I contact?

State system employers should view information on pay rates on this website or contact Wageline 1300 655 266.

Other employment obligations

Nail salon owners have a range of other employment obligations - find out where you can get help with these. 

Nail salons and hazardous substances – safety issues

There are safety considerations for nail salons. Nail salon work involves the use of hazardous substances to apply false nails to clients’ fingers or to polish the clients’ nails. Read more about nail salons and hazardous substances in the WorkSafe section of this website.

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