June 19, 2015

Assembly Strengthens Protections for Nail Salon Workers

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Ron Kim today announced the passage of legislation that would authorize the Secretary of State to combat unlicensed appearance enhancement activity and would authorize the Department of State to register trainees in the practice of nail specialty (A.7630-A, Kim). This measure was also passed by the Senate and will be delivered to the Governor for consideration.

"It is our duty to pass legislation that ensures the safety and welfare of all New Yorkers," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. "Employees in all fields who are untrained, mistreated or underpaid deserve our support as we work to strengthen our economy and build a better, more equal New York."

"Many nail salon employees endure unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices. The unlicensed operation of appearance enhancement businesses, inadequate ventilation, wage theft, and lack of protective equipment are just some of the issues jeopardizing the health and safety of employees and patrons alike," added Heastie.

The legislation would establish a trainee certification for individuals studying the practice of nail specialty under the guidance and supervision of a licensed nail practitioner. Certifications issued by the Department of State would be valid for one year with the option to renew.

Trainees would be eligible to apply for a nail specialty license after the completion of one year of training and a course of study set forth by the Secretary of State, as well as successfully completing the practical exam. The Secretary of State has the authority to suspend or revoke trainee registration for reasons outlined in current law that apply to licensees. This list would be updated to include compelling prostitution and sex trafficking in an effort to keep individuals safe from such illegal activities.

"Nail salon workers, like many people in low wage positions, can suffer exploitation that puts themselves and others at risk. While this is not a problem in all salons, statewide regulations are vital to ensuring the health and well-being of both the workers and patrons of nail salons," said Assemblymember Ron Kim. "This legislation not only establishes those regulations, but also provides ample opportunities for good operators to comply with the law."

The bill would establish new penalties for the unlicensed operation of an appearance enhancement business. It would also require appearance enhancement businesses to make gloves and face masks available to nail salon employees and trainees, to limit their exposure to toxic materials. In addition, the Secretary of State would have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations to protect the health, safety and welfare of licensees and trainees.