THE owner of a Glen Waverley hairdressing salon has denied allegations by the Fair Work Ombudsman that he underpaid two young apprentices more than $9000.
Craig Francis Lane, owner of Hennesy Lane Hair Design in Kingsway, Glen Waverley told the Weekly today that the allegations were false and he would fight the matter in court.
Mr Lane, who is also the vice-president of the Glen Waverley Traders Association, labelled the allegations as ‘‘totally not true’’.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has lodged a statement of claim alleging breaches of the Fair Work Act by Mr Lane, who operates Hennesy Lane Hair Design salons in Glen Waverley and Rowville Lakes shopping centre on Kelletts Road, involving underpayment of two apprentices at each of the salons a total $9669 between 2007 and 2011.
His company, Hennesy lane Hair Design Pty Ltd, through which he operates the salons, is also facing prosecution.
The apprentices — one aged 16 to 19 at the time and the other aged 22 to 23 — were allegedly underpaid wages, overtime, weekend penalty rates, annual leave, entitlements, public holiday pay, a tool allowance and a late night meal allowance.
The Ombudsman alleges that they were underpaid amounts of $5263 and $4406 respectively.
Laws relating to keeping employment records were also alleged to have been breached.
Mr Lane said the apprentices were being asked to stay back to hone their skills.‘‘It’s all to do with training. For example, next week I might say to you, ‘You need some training on colour, why don’t you bring your mum in and we’ll colour your mum’s hair and I’ll time you’,’’ he told the Weekly.
Mr Lane said he was teaching his apprentices the way he was taught.
‘‘It’s been happening for 50 years. It’s been happening forever.
‘‘I’ve won hairdresser of the year five years in a row. I’ve got probably 40 staff that have opened their own salons from the training that we give. Most staff come and work for us because we give great training.’’
The Ombudsman stated that payments had been made to both employees, with only $539 allegedly still owing to one employee.
Mr Lane faces maximum penalties of up to $6600 per breach and his company faces penalties of up to $33,000 per breach.
The ombudsman is also seeking a court order for the company to fully rectify the alleged underpayment.
A directions hearing is listed for October 10 in Melbourne’s Federal Magistrates Court.