Extreme weather conditions or other major incidents may mean you can’t open your salon/barbershop for business or your staff can’t get into work. What should you do and where do you stand? Do staff have to be paid? And what about chair/space/room renters? 

This blog post covers: 

What to do if you can’t open for business 

If you can’t access your premises because of a major incident, you will need to let your clients, staff and insurance company know. If you rent your premises, get in touch with your landlord too. 

It’s a good idea to create a back-up of all your electronic data, including your business insurance and staff and client contact details, so you can still access it if your computer equipment is damaged or destroyed or you can’t get into your salon or barbershop.  

 

Guide to GDPR

 

Make sure any data you hold on mobile devices is password-protected and that you comply with the new data protection laws (GDPR). Find out how to stay within the law: download our detailed Member-only guide to GDPR

If you can't open for business, don’t panic:

· Contact your clients to let them know you cannot open your salon or barbershop. If possible, give them some idea of when you might be able to re-open and say you will let them know as soon as possible. 

· Contact your staff to let them know they will not be able to get into work. Tell them you will stay in contact to let them know what is happening and when they should come back to work. Explain what will happen in relation to pay (see below).  

· If you own the premises, contact your insurance company for further information and advice about what you should do next and how to claim for loss and/or damage. Make some notes about exactly what has happened with dates and times, plus the extent of any damage to the building or property as far as you can tell at this stage. 

· If you rent the premises you should contact your insurer and your landlord to let them know what has happened. Make notes of dates and times and any damage to the building or property that you already know about. However, bear in mind: 

- Your landlord should also have insurance.

- You will need to understand what the lease says in relation to who is responsible for what when it  comes to repairing damage and recovering losses. 

- You will need to clarify what the lease says about rent payments. Find out if you can stop paying rent while the premises cannot be used. The landlord’s insurance may cover the rent payments. But make sure your lease states that you can temporarily stop making rent payments until the building can be used again. 

NHBF Members can call our 24/7 commercial legal helpline for more advice and information about this. 

Barber shop

Do you have to pay your employees? 

This will depend on what your contracts of employment say. Many contracts of employment, including the NHBF contracts, state that the employer has the right to lay off employees or offer fewer hours of work in certain circumstances, including if your salon or barbershop has to close down in an emergency situation.  

Your employees must be told that they are to be laid off and how long you think they may be laid off for. 

The employer can decide whether or not they will pay their employees during the time they are laid off. If you don’t pay your staff their normal salary while they are laid off, statutory guarantee pay provisions will kick in. 

National minimum wage

What are statutory guarantee pay provisions? 

Your employees will be entitled to ‘guarantee pay’ from you if:

· You are not paying them while they are laid off.

· They have been continuously employed for one month.

· They are available for work.

· They have not refused any reasonable alternative work, including work not specified in their employment contract. 

The maximum amount of guarantee pay allowed is £29 a day for five days in any three-month period – a maximum of £145 (2019/2020 figures). Guarantee pay for part-time employees is worked out pro rata.

NHBF Members have free 24/7 access to our indispensable employment law helpline. Not yet a Member? To get instant access to this invaluable benefit, join now for less than 80p a day. 

 

Salon owner

What to do if your staff can’t get in

Let your clients know as soon as possible if your staff cannot get in. If possible, offer an appointment with someone else or re-arrange as soon as possible. Keep your clients informed about what’s happening. 

If your staff cannot get into work due to the weather or travel disruption, you should be fair and flexible when dealing with the situation. For example: 

· Can they start later than usual? 

· Can they make up for lost time on other days?

· Can they swap shifts with someone else who can get in?

· Can you agree that they will take the time as paid annual leave? 

Do you have to pay staff who can’t get in? 

If it’s impossible to agree and arrange alternative arrangements with your employee, you are entitled not to pay them if they cannot make it into work. But do consider what effect this might have on your relationships with the employee – especially if they are a valued member of staff and were genuinely unable to get into work or make alternative arrangements despite being willing to do so. 

Don’t forget: your employees have the right to take unpaid leave if they need to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. For example, schools may close in bad weather or caring arrangements for a relative may be cancelled.

Find out more about the rights your employees have.

 

Business coaching

What if clients can’t make it to your salon or barbershop?

It’s best practice to have a clear cancellation policy in place that your clients know about and understand. However, if your clients cannot get into the salon due to adverse weather conditions or transport disruption it’s best not to enforce your policy too strictly as you don’t want to alienate your regular clients. For example, you may not want to enforce financial penalties. If any of your loyal and regular clients have paid a deposit, agree to put it towards their next appointment or offer a refund.

Find out more about handling no-shows and late cancellations. 

Chair/space/room renters  

Salon or barbershop insurance policies should include business interruption cover (see below) in case the business cannot open due to situations such as flooding, fire or adverse weather conditions etc. This would also cover the loss of rent from chair/space/room renters who cannot work because the salon or barbershop is closed. 

If you are a self-employed chair/space/room renter, make sure you understand what would happen if the salon or barbershop you work in cannot open. Not all salons or barbershops will have business interruption cover and you will have to check what your contract with the salon/barbershop owners says about rent payments. 

Have an emergency plan that you can put into action if you cannot get into the salon or barbershop where you work. You will need to contact your clients to let them know what is happening. 

NHBF Members can call our 24/7 commercial legal helpline for more advice and information about this. 

National minimum wage

Insurance cover 

Business disruption can be extremely costly for your business. You will need to create a business continuity plan and business interruption insurance is also strongly recommended for salons and barbershops. Property insurance alone won’t cover you for the potentially crippling impact of your salon or barbershop business being temporarily out of action. 

Business interruption insurance provides vital additional cover for costs, for example:

· Lost profit due to business interruption.

· Additional costs such as temporary relocation; hiring replacement equipment; or even ‘business as usual’ ads. 

· Indirect disruption, for example, if your clients can’t get to your salon or barbershop because the area you’re in is closed due to a fire or security incident.

Find more detailed information about handling business disruption and business interruption insurance. 

Download GOV.UK’s Business Continuity Management Toolkit to help guide you step by step through the process of creating a business continuity plan. The NHBF works in partnership with Coversure to offer specialist insurance for hair/beauty salons and barbershops. 

 

Checklist

· If you can’t open up your salon or barbershop, let your clients, staff and insurance company know as soon as possible.

· If you’re a leaseholder, liaise with your landlord as soon as possible.

· Keep a back-up of all your electronic data – including key contact details –

but make sure it is secure and GDPR-compliant.

· Make sure you understand what your employment contracts say about paying staff if they can’t work because your salon or barbershop is closed.

· Be as flexible as possible if your staff can’t get to work due to adverse weather or travel disruption.

· If clients can’t get in for reasons beyond their control, avoid applying your no-show and late-cancellation policy too strictly – you don’t want to alienate valuable clients.

· Chair, space and room renters should check where they stand with the salon/barbershop owner.

· Create a business disruption plan and have business interruption insurance in place for your salon/barbershop.

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