Geelong hairdresser paid less than $7 an hour

The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced that a Geelong hair salon paid an adult apprentice hairdresser less than $7 an hour, inquiries by the Agency have revealed.

The 29-year-old female employee was short-changed a total of $17,400 between August 2014 and September 2015.

For most of her employment, the employee was paid an hourly rate of just $6.67 on weekdays and $8.83 on Saturdays.

However, as a first-year adult apprentice she was entitled to $11.75 on weekdays and $20.89 on Saturdays.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the employee told inspectors the low wage caused her to struggle financially.

"Before contacting our office for assistance, she asked her employer to increase her pay rates, but was rebuffed," Ms James said.

When contacted by Fair Work inspectors, the business said it could not afford to pay the entitlements under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award.

However, the salon was informed the minimum award rate was not optional, and is now repaying all outstanding entitlements on a plan agreed to by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Ms James said that because the businesses co-operated, agreed to repay all money owed and ensure ongoing compliance with its obligations, it has avoided further enforcement action.

She reminded Geelong employers of the importance of ensuring that they understand the wage rates applicable to their workplace.

The employee has since resigned to continue her apprenticeship elsewhere.

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