The do’s and don’t’s to NMW compliance by 3·6·5’s Ken West

The ‘Don’ of Salon Smart, Ken West took to the stage once again at the annual event to talk about everything from chair rental to pricing, and National Minimum Wage (NMW) to apprentices.

As NMW inspections become more common and more salon owners who have failed to comply with the regulations get named and shamed, Ken shares his five top tips for NMW compliance to ensure you aren’t hit with fines that can sometimes run into thousands of pounds:

  1. Keep accurate records of hours worked. To say that someone works five days a week  is not enough as their hours may vary day by day and this could affect not only payments due, but also any deductions that you may make for absence. NMW Inspectors love detail.
  1. Ensure that you pay for all hours worked. If you insist that your assistants are to be in the salon 15 or 30 minutes before you open to prepare for the day, then this should be classed as work time and paid for.
  1. Any training out of usual hours should be paid for. This should include reasonable travel time to and from courses.
  1. Employees should not be made to pay for any equipment that they need to carry out their job if buying this equipment takes their earnings below minimum wage. We recommend that you have a pool of tools in the salon and provide tool kits for trainees attending college.
  1. If your team buys products from you then do not take payment from them via their wages if doing so takes them beneath minimum wage. We recommend processing payments through your till, but at team rates.

“If you are unfortunate enough to have a Minimum Wage Inspection then make sure you are prepared,” says Ken. “Have all of the information that they are likely to ask for, such as time sheets, wages records, personnel records and anything that could be relevant.

“General HR advice is one of the benefits of 3·6·5 membership and if you would like to find out more about what we do and how we can help your business, please call our friendly team on 0845 659 0015, or email us at”