Your new salon or barbershop employee will have legal rights as soon as they accept your offer of employment and turn up for their first day of work – even during their probationary period.

Remember that a verbal offer and acceptance also means that a legal contract is in place (it doesn’t have to be in writing) and your new employee’s rights will kick in from day one of their employment.

Bear in mind that part-time and fixed-term workers must be treated the same as a full-time or permanent employee.

This blog post is about new employees NOT apprentices. Probationary periods are not appropriate for apprentices as they are taken on to be trained and have greater protection against dismissal. The NHF apprenticeship agreements do not include a probationary period for this reason.  

Find out more about selecting and training apprentices.


This blog post covers:

Probationary period for salon and barbershop staff

When you take on a new member of staff in your hair/beauty salon or barbershop you will almost certainly employ them on a probationary basis at first.


NHF Members can download free employee contracts and employee handbooks. NHF contracts specify an initial probationary period of three months which can be extended to six months if necessary. Become an NHF Member today.


Use the probationary period wisely. Make time for regular performance reviews, offer constructive feedback and keep records of all feedback given. Proactive performance management early on will help to mould the kind of team player you want your new member of staff to become in the long-term. Read on to find out what legal rights your new salon or barbershop employee will have.

Retain your salon staff

Discover how to recruit the right salon team.

Entitlement to written terms and conditions

When sending out a job offer you do not have to include all the terms and conditions straightaway, but the law says that within two months of their starting date you must give your new employee a written document that includes all the terms and conditions of their job.

However – to avoid uncertainty, it is a good idea to provide your new employee’s full terms and conditions before they begin work in your hair/beauty salon or barbershop.

Full written terms and conditions should include:

• Job title.
• Name of the employer and their address.
• Name of the employee and their address.
• Employee’s start date.
• Length of any probationary period.
• Whether the post is permanent, temporary, part-time or full-time.
• Amount of pay, whether it will be paid weekly or monthly, on what date, and how it will be paid.
• Any benefits such as private health insurance.
• Details about the company’s pension scheme.
• Hours of work.
• The location(s) where the employee will work.
• Annual leave entitlement.
• Sick leave arrangements including pay.
• How much notice must be given when leaving the post.
• Information about disciplinary and grievance procedures, and specifically who any appeal should be made to.

 Terms and conditions

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National Minimum wage during the probationary period

Your probationary employee must be paid the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage (if over 25 years old). Find out more about the National Minimum Wage

Guide to National Minimum Wage

Our free expert guide to the NMW and NLW is available to NHF Members only. It includes detailed information about how the NMW and NLW impact the hair, beauty and barbering industry.


You must also give your new employee a proper itemised pay slip.

Working hours and breaks during the probationary period

The law says that most employees – including new employees on probation – should not work more than 48 hours a week. This includes overtime.

Employees under the age of 18 should not work more than 40 hours a week.

(There are exceptions to these rules, but they do not apply to people working in beauty/hair salons or barbershops.)

New employees are also legally entitled to the same rest breaks as every other employee in your salon or barbershop. For employees aged over 18, these are:

• 20 minutes break if working more than six hours a day.
• 11 hours rest between working days.
• One rest day (24 hours) per working week.

For salon/barbershop employees over school leaving age but under 18, these are:

• 30 minutes break if working more than four hours 30 minutes a day.
• 12 hours between working days.
• Two rest days (48 hours) per week.

Annual leave entitlement during the probationary period

Don’t forget – your new employee will be entitled to annual leave even during their probationary period.

Your new employee’s annual leave entitlement will start to build up from day one of their employment. You cannot withhold annual leave entitlement until their probationary period is at an end.

However: in the first year you can allow your employee one month’s accrued leave entitlement at a time. So your new employee would have to wait until they have built up enough leave before taking time off.

Unless otherwise stated in the contract or employee handbook, your employee should let you know in plenty of time if they want to take annual leave. For example, if they want one week’s holiday, they should give you at least two weeks’ notice.

Holidays already booked

Very often, a new employee will already have a holiday booked when they start work with you.

The law says that you do not have to allow your new employee to take their holiday. However, you will probably want to avoid the bad feeling that refusing annual leave for a pre-booked holiday would cause.

Try to avoid this situation by finding out at the job offer stage what holiday your new employee is planning.

Annual leave

Maternity rights during probationary periods

Your probationary employee will be entitled to time off for ante-natal appointments.

They will not be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay unless they have been working for you continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 'qualifying week' (the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth). However, they may be entitled to Maternity Allowance.

Find out more about Maternity Pay.

Dismissal from your salon or barbershop

You will have the right to dismiss your new employee if their performance is not good enough to pass the probationary period. You may also consider extending their probationary period.

Notice periods

If your new employee has worked in your salon or barbershop for at least one month on a continuous basis (but less than two years), you must give them at least one week’s notice that their employment is coming to an end, or the length of notice stated in their contract if different.

Other rights

Other rights will depend on length of service. For example, your employee will need to have completed 26 weeks’ continuous service to request flexible working. Contractual or company benefit schemes may be withheld until the probationary period is complete.


• New employees have rights from day one.
• Part-time and fixed-term employees have the same rights as full-time workers.
• Provide full written terms and conditions within two months – but preferably before employment starts.
• New employees must be paid the National Minimum Wage.
• Working hours and rest break laws apply to new employees.
• Annual leave builds up for new employees from day one.
• Ask in advance what holiday your new employee has booked.
• New employees are entitled to time off for maternity appointments.
• Probationary employees cannot be dismissed for being pregnant or a whistle-blower, or any other reason that would be considered discriminatory.

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