Hairdressers may soon be able to accumulate long service leave even if they move between businesses.
Labor backbencher Bec Cody will on Thursday move a motion in the ACT Legislative Assembly to expand the portable long service leave scheme to include hairdressers and other trades.
Ms Cody, a former hairdresser, said that the expansion would allow workers to keep their entitlements as they move between employers.
ACT hairdresser Blake Lyons, also a spokesman for union Hair Stylists Australia, said being able to access two months' leave would be a game changer for longtime hairdressers.
"Hairdressers have long suffered at the hands of employers who undervalue their staff and condone toxic workplace cultures," he said.
"Hairstylists and barbers shouldn't be penalised for this and miss out on the chance of long service leave.
"I don't think people have any idea of the hours we work, or just how poorly paid we are as an industry.
"It's high time that people start recognising that we are a highly trained workforce that deserves to be treated better and paid better."
Under existing portable long service schemes, employers pay a levy (about 1 to 2 per cent) of workers' wages into a fund, which employees can draw on when they they hit their long-service leave milestone.
In the ACT, schemes exist in the building and construction, community services, cleaning and security sectors.
Tim Kinsela, owner of the Cock and Crown barber shop, said he supported the move.
"It will actually help encourage people to stay in the hairdressing industry," he said. "If you're in an industry a long time there should be a bit of recognition."
Ms Cody said hairdressers often did not stay with one employer long enough to qualify for long service leave. She said without access to the scheme, many were missing out on basic rights as full-time employees.
"The government already recognises building and construction, contract cleaning, community services and security as transient industries covered under the portable long service leave scheme," she said. "It is important we provide the same assurance and security to hairdressers who are highly skilled tradespeople that train for many years before becoming fully qualified.
"We also need to acknowledge that hairdressers are predominantly women and that women have been particularly hard hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."
Employment Minister Suzanne Orr said the government would support the motion.
"The ACT government would undertake consultation with the hair dressing industry to determine the viability of including hairdressers in the scheme," she said.