Cuomo Seeks Reforms in the Nail Salon Industry

Multi-Agency Task Force Enforcement Teams Will Recover Wages and Shut Down Worst Offenders

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has introduced a comprehensive package of legislation and new regulations to protect workers in the nail salon industry. This complements the work of the Governor’s multi-agency task force, which has enforcement teams in the field to recover stolen wages and shut down the industry’s worst offenders. Additionally, the Governor is launching a public education and outreach campaign to help workers understand their rights and ensure that business owners live up to their responsibilities and obligations under the law.

“Our point is simple: exploitation has no place in the state of New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “The rights of nail salon employees must be respected, and we are launching an aggressive crackdown on the industry to make sure that happens. With new legislation and emergency regulations, a public outreach campaign in multiple languages, and a thorough investigation of the chemicals that are used, we are standing up for those who have been unable to stand up for themselves. Today New York State is sending the message loud and clear: we will not tolerate abusive or unsafe working conditions – period.”

Today’s announcement comes just days after Governor Cuomo announced his multi-agency Task Force to quickly correct and prevent unlawful practices and unsafe working conditions in the nail salon industry.

‘Bill of Rights’ and Outreach Campaign Will Educate Employers and Workers about Rights and Responsibilities

Many nail salon employees endure unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices. Inadequate ventilation, lack of personal protective equipment, non-payment of wages, nonexistent worker’s compensation coverage, missing business liability insurance, and the unlicensed operation of facilities jeopardize the health and safety of employees and patrons alike. The situation demands immediate action; however, existing statutes impede the State’s ability to act swiftly in order to protect the public and provide employee justice. Therefore, the Governor today introduced legislation focused on providing the State with adequate enforcement authority and providing workers with accessible training and job resources.

Grace Shim, Executive Director, MinKwon Center for Community Action, said: “We must involve employers, workers, and customers alike to develop long-term, multi-pronged, comprehensive strategies that both protect vulnerable, immigrant workers and support struggling, immigrant small-business owners.

The Governor introduced legislation that will establish new opportunities for unlicensed nail practitioners to register with the state as trainees, instead of relying on often prohibitively high cost education programs, so they may continue to work while studying for their licensing exam. With this tool, workers can more effectively obtain relevant training and explore opportunities in the industry without being held hostage to any employer.

Charito Cisneros, founder, Hispanic Cosmetology and Beauty Chamber of Commerce, said: “I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership in ensuring that all nail salon workers are properly trained and licensed, which will improve our industry as a whole.”

Nail Salons will be required to post, in a place visible to all employees and the public, the Nail Salon Workers’ Bill of Rights which notifies every worker in plain language of their rights to a legal wage and a safer working environment. It will contain a single hotline where workers can ask questions and lodge complaints. The Bill of Rights will be translated into multiple languages and distributed to every salon in the State.





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