Whether you’re hiring your first employee or have been running an established lash salon for years, navigating employment contracts and ensuring you’re adhering to best practices is never easy. To help untangle the weeds, we’re including five things that every lash studio’s employee contracts — whether with lash artists or front desk staff — should include.
1. Type of employment
As an employer, you will have to decide whether you want your employees on an at-will or contract basis. At-will employment, in which either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any nondiscriminatory reason, is the default assumption for employment in the United States.
You will also have to decide if a person you are hiring will be an employee or treated as an independent contractor. This is totally up to your discretion! Perhaps you know that you are much busier during a specific time of year — say, during the holidays or summer vacation season — and need an extra lash stylist just to help out during those few months.
You must also make sure to specify whether the employee is working on a full-time or part-time basis.
2.Employee’s job title and description
In your offer letter or contract, you will need to label the employee’s official job title. You will also need to include a detailed, clear job description, specifically delineating the employee’s duties!
If your salon is growing, you may find that you and your employees need to be “all hands on deck”, often performing tasks that aren’t specifically delineated in the job bullets. For instance, lash stylists and front desk assistants alike may need to pitch in elsewhere to keep the business running smoothly during client hours.
In this case, you may want to include language in the contract indicating that you expect your hirees to take on responsibilities outside of their usual scope. Being honest about expectations with your employees from the start is key to avoiding disgruntled employees and, thus, subpar work and angry clients!
Compliance with state wage laws is key to satisfied employees, establishing a culture of inclusivity and trust, and legal liability reduction. Many states — including New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, California, and Washington, D.C. — mandate that employee offer letters (and businesses at large) comply with the Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2016.
Details vary from state to state. In general, however, you must disclose to your employees their compensation and pay rates, including whether they will be considered hourly or salaried employees. You will also need to disclose regular paydays, and whether they will be weekly or biweekly. For commission earners (most likely your lash stylists) you must specify how frequently they will receive their commission checks.
Some states require all compensation-related details to be translated into the employee’s primary language. Even if not required by your jurisdiction, it may be worth contacting an attorney fluent in one or more of these languages to help you out with this!
Tips are also an important part of lash stylists’ compensation. Clearly and thoroughly lay out how your store handles tips. As an employer, you must claim all tip income, and this ultimatelyhelps, not hurts, your employees. Claimed tips count towards their total annual income. The boosted income numbers help them out in other areas, including lowered interest rates on credit lines, mortgages, and vehicles.
4. Arbitration clauses.
No matter how careful you are, there may come a day when you need to take legal action. Including an arbitration clause in your employment contract can save you and your employees tons of time, money, and stress. With an arbitration clause, the employee (and often, the employer) waives their right to traditional court litigation. Instead, the parties agree to seek out arbitration and/or mediation to resolve legal disputes. While including an arb/med clause is optional, you may find it eases your and your employees’ minds to know that neither side will shell out extravagant legal fees or waste years navigating the courts in the worst case scenario.
Nearly every lash artist dreams of someday starting their own business, theirownsalon. Inevitably, your employees will one day depart, whether to gain different experiences working elsewhere or to start their own venture. Naturally, they will take the techniques and skills they learned from your salon with them. You’ll be so proud when that day comes — but you also need to prepare yourself for the eventuality that current employees may become future competition.
One major challenge for salon owners is creating noncompete clauses in their employment contracts without making them too broad. The key to writing a fair noncompete clause isn’t barring future lash artist employees from working anywhere within reasonable distance of their current home. Such a practice is not only illegal, but breeds distrust and resentment within our small lashing community! It is, however, reasonable for the clause to prevent employees from working with similar businesses within a small radius of your salon for a limited time frame — say, a one-mile radius for one year.
Before adding a noncompete clause to your employment contracts, make sure you live in a state that permits you to have one. Some states, like California, have made it unlawful for employers to force their employees to sign one to avoid situations in which an employee cannot practice their profession where they live.
At LashBeePro, we have found that allowing employees to be open about their future plans has been tremendously helpful in fostering a comfortable environment and ensuring that stylists don’t leave on bad terms.
As you navigate establishing and expanding your lash studio, we hope this guide helps (somewhat!) clarify the complex world employment contracts! As always, we emphasize that this article is not actual legal advice. We advise consulting an attorney when creating your contracts to ensure maximum compliance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations.