Beauty industry

How a hairdresser is leading the charge of paid family leave in the beauty industry

Rubi jonesPhoto: Courtesy of Rubi Jones

To put it plainly: The United States is the only wealthy country that does not guarantee workers any kind of paid leave, including paid leave for new mothers looking after newborn babies. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for eligible employees, but only for companies with 50 or more employees, which excludes many hair salon employees . “Over the past year I’ve learned that in trying to ‘professionalize’ the industry we’ve created a culture and a hierarchy that has set aside mom and pop stores and hairdressers working in salons. at home, ”says Jones. “These smaller salons with 1-5 employees are the backbone of the hair industry, and they don’t even qualify for the job protection provided by the current family leave policy.” Paid time off would mean that hairdressers (regardless of salon size), suite owners, stand rental companies, freelancers and concert workers would receive up to 12 weeks of paid time off per year to take care of their business. ‘a new child, a loved one or their own serious. health problem at 66% or more of their monthly salary. Of course, through the lens of gender equality, it should also be recognized that in the United States, women occupy about 89.6% of professional jobs in beauty services. And given that 64.2 percent of mothers are the primary, sole or co-breadwinner in their families, the loss of wages due to lack of paid time off can be disastrous for their families. “This is especially true for black and Latin mothers who are disproportionately likely to be the main or only breadwinners in their families, respectively 67.5% and 41.4% versus 37% of white mothers,” Jones explains.

Jones hopes we’re uniquely positioned to have a good chance at adopting a national policy of paid family and medical leave: pandemic has exposed flaws in current systems, Congress temporarily adopted a policy of paid leave during pandemic , and the new administration proposed the Biden-Harris American Families Plan, which would provide 12 weeks of paid parental, family and sick leave to virtually all working Americans over the next 10 years. “Paid time off would provide mothers in the beauty industry with income security that would allow them to make healthy and confident choices about returning to work after childbirth, knowing that they are not facing a loss of life. major income and without fear of losing their job, ”says Jones. Research shows that paid time off not only correlates with lower infant mortality rates, but also increases a woman’s chances of returning to the workplace and staying on board with higher productivity rates.

To encourage the momentum forward, Salon Care urges its supporters to talk to their hairdressers, clients, friends and family members about how the lack of a national paid time off policy has affected their lives. The group offers resources to help capture the attention of Congress: Anyone can support by texting GO BEAUTY4PAIDLEAVE at 50409 or visiting the Salon Care website to find fact sheets, sources and email templates for contacting their Congress representatives. “The overall work of hairdressers does not need to live on the structures that have existed in the American hair industry for decades,” says Jones. “With Salon, I plan to resume the original community building that was historically synonymous with hair salons. I look to the past and within my community to rebuild the future.”

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