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Is B&D covered by the same laws as brothels?

On premises where a sexual service is part of a B&D service, such as masturbation or penetration of a slave by a master/mistress, the premises may be considered a brothel under local council planning policies. The operator of the service may need to lodge a development application (DA) to operate a brothel, even if the council does not have a specific policy about B&D services.

What are the rights of a B&D worker?

The rights of B&D workers are contained in oral or written employment agreements, and maybe also in industrial awards and legislation, depending upon the employment relationship. The rights may also be covered by the actors (theatrical) award including minimum pay rates and cancellation fees.

Click here for more information on the employment rights of sex workers.

Employers need to ensure that workers have the relevant information and training to do their job in a healthy and safe manner, and to ensure the safety of the worker while they provide the service. If employers do not provide this information and training, they may face legal action.

What are the rights of a trainee?

If trainees are employees, the employer—who cannot be the trainer—must:

  • pay them at agreed or award rates
  • provide a safe and healthy workplace
  • take out workers compensation insurance and
  • provide adequate information, training and supervision.

If the trainee is a contractor they may have to take out their own workers compensation insurance.

For more information about workers compensation insurance, see the WorkCover website.

Does a B&D worker have to do anything they do not want to?

No, a B&D worker does not have to do anything they do not want to. A worker can negotiate with their employer and with their client about the type of service they will provide. Workers do not have to undertake any type of work—such as switching to submissive—without previously agreeing to do so.

Clients need to act within the agreed service boundaries or face legal action. Even if a B&D worker only makes an oral agreement about what activities they will engage in with their client, that agreement is binding.

Who is responsible for health and safety in a B&D workplace?

The owners and/or employers of B&D services must ensure the safety and health of staff, private operators, clients and visitors. They need to:

  • have a current workers compensation insurance policy
  • ensure the safe use, handling, storage and cleaning of equipment such as sex toys
  • provide adequate information, training and supervision for all staff, especially trainees, and
  • provide and maintain safe systems of work such as security systems.

Workers must also take care of the safety and health of other staff, clients and anyone in the workplace and comply with the health and safety policies and practices.

What happens if a worker or a client is injured during a B&D session?

If a worker contracts an illness or disease, or is injured through their work, their employer may be liable for compensation. All employers must have workers compensation insurance in NSW.

A contract worker must have their own workers compensation insurance and may be able to make a claim on their policy if they are injured or contract an illness or disease through their work.

A client who contracts an illness or disease, or who is injured using a B&D service may also be able to make a claim:

  • through the courts or
  • under the business’s public liability insurance policy—if one exists.

NOTE: People have been convicted of assault occasioning bodily harm in the course of consensual B&D activities. Where actual bodily harm is intended consent is not a defence to a charge of assault. Actual bodily harm could include semi-permanent bruising, swelling, abrasions and serious cuts.

Workers compensation insurance

All workplaces have to have adequate workers compensation insurance. This provides financial assistance to employees injured or ill through work, whether or not it is the worker’s fault.

Workers compensation claims are made against the owner of the business. If an employer is not insured, a worker may claim under WorkCover’s Uninsured Workers Compensation Scheme. The owner may face a large fine for not having insurance.

If you are a private worker or self-employed, you should have your own workers compensation insurance.

Public liability insurance

B&D workplaces need public liability insurance to cover accident or injury that may happen on their premises. Public liability insurance covers an owner’s liability for compensation if someone—who is not an employee or family member—suffers an injury, damage or death as a result of business operations.

NOTE: Many public liability policies do not cover ‘adult services’, so it is important that owners of B&D businesses ensure that the specific services they provide to clients are covered by their public liability insurance policy.

Skin penetration and the law

A business offering skin penetration needs to be registered with the local council. Skin penetration procedures include:

  • acupuncture
  • tattooing (including cosmetic tattooing)
  • face and body piercing (including surgical implants)
  • hair removal (including waxing and electrolysis)
  • beauty treatments that penetrate or remove skin, and
  • enemas and douching.

In NSW, there are laws and regulations concerning all skin penetration operators and premises.  They cover matters like:

  • having single-use equipment
  • preparing for and doing a procedure
  • the work area, and
  • disposal of equipment.

Environmental health officers can check that the regulations are being complied with.

For more information:

  • See Guidelines on Skin Penetration and Skin Penetration Code of Best Practice Search here.
  • Call NSW Health on (02) 9391 9000
  • See the Public Health Act for information on the law in relation to HIV and STIs in a sex work business.

What B&D equipment is prohibited without a permit?

There are restrictions on possessing and using certain weapons without a permit.  Prohibited weapons include some knives, gloves, whips, handcuffs, flails and riding crops. Please contact the firearms registry for more information about permits.