Recently, at my place of employ this issue was brought up. Since our schedule is implied and my pay is strictly commission I have found it’s not in my best interest to sit waiting for possible business. In the past, I have worked for many salons that state we are independent contractors yet require the staff to be there a certain number of hours and treat them like employees. Since the issue was brought up the owner of the salon and other staff members have researched the problem. Wherein the employer got all this documentation and articles written by other salon owners, the other staff got documentation from The Department of Labor Wage and Hour division. Here’s the summary of what it says.
If you are required to be in a business certain hours and perform tasks that you are not compensated for then you are an employee and are required BY LAW to make minimum wage. So if you are required to sit in a salon, answer phones, take coats, clean, do dishes ect and it’s not for your personal clients then you are required legally to be compensated for your time. I know this isn’t how any salon I have ever worked in has been regulated. Now if your commission is more then what your hours work vs. minimum wage would be then that’s justifiable. But with salons requiring most employees to do discounts and deals it’s just not balancing out.
I’ve spoken with many hairstylist in the past few months that agree things are getting out of hand. And if we are treated like employees and are time isn’t being compensated as well as our commission being cut more than half to do discounts than that is clearly not only unlawful but discouraging. This means that for every salon you have ever worked at, if they required you to be there certain hours, if your commission did not exceed what you would have been paid for minimum wage then you can sue them for lost wages. This could mean most all salons across the US having to pay Thousands and Thousands of dollars.
The problem with the industry is that we all stand alone. There is no regulations being enforced and it’s a free for all. Employers just look around and say “Well, that’s how everyone else is doing it!” Never mind the legality of it.
I’m bringing up this point to get some feedback. Is it worth it to give away our time this way with the economy the way it is. Or is it time to stop taking discounts and lessen our pay to make under minimum wage just because “that’s the way it’s always been done?”
What are your thoughts?