Governor Signs Legislation to Protect and Support Nail Salon Workers

Legislation Protecting Nail Salon Workers

On Thursday morning, Governor Cuomo signed legislation protecting and supporting nail salon workers in New York. The bill was one of the Governor’s top priorities this legislative session and builds on the Governor’s previous efforts to implement sweeping emergency regulations to protect the rights of workers in the industry.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie recalled the Assembly Majority’s long history of defending the rights of workers in every industry. He added that in 2010 he was proud to have led the fight to give workers across this state a voice with the enactment of the Wage Theft Prevention Act. “I am proud that today, we take that victory a step further and empower nail salon workers with the support, the oversight, and the knowledge they need to go to work each day in a safe environment and be paid fair wages for the labor they provide. Indeed, worker exploitation is pervasive problem across many industries,” said Speaker Heastie.
Bronx Assembly Members_End Worker Exploitation-2

The legislation signed today gives the Department of State the authority to shut down a business that is not following the law. The agency can cease unlicensed or uninsured activities and impose financial penalties at higher levels than was previously permitted in response to violations. In addition, unlicensed nail practitioners now have the ability to register with the state as trainees. This allows them to continue working while they study for their licensing exam, instead of solely relying on often prohibitively high-cost education program.

Cuomo Signed Nail Salon Bill-07152015

The bill’s Assembly sponsor, Assemblyman Ron Kim thanked Governor Cuomo for stepping up to bring immediate improvements in the nail salon industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs to female immigrant workers. “As the main sponsor of this three-way agreement in the Assembly, we worked non-stop for weeks to strike a fair balance in protecting workers, encouraging good operators, and rooting out bad owners. Governor Cuomo has been at the center of bringing legislators from all across this state to help working families, immigrant communities, and small business owners. He has shown great leadership in managing and leading the most diverse state in the nation. I look forward to working closely with him and his team on continuing to empower the exploitable workforces in the future,” said Kim.

The legislation also implements new regulations for nail salons to address new bond and insurance requirements, improved personal protective equipment and required postings of any cease and desist notices that may be issued to a business found to be operating without a license and of a new Bill of Rights, available in 12 languages. Additionally, regulations are to be proposed with enhanced ventilation requirements and a review is under way of chemicals used in nails salons.

Included in the Governor’s previous efforts include administrative changes to expand: availability of licensing exams through translations into in additional languages; access to free English classes; and availability of free training materials through the Department of State’s website.

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