Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday aimed at improving working conditions of nail salon employees.
The bill, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Kim, authorizes the secretary of state to ban work done in beauty salons by unlicensed trainees, and requires that trainees register with the state department in the practice of nail specialty.
“I want to thank Gov. Cuomo for stepping up to bring immediate improvements in the nail salon industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs to female immigrant workers,” Kim said. “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.”
Kim has been heavily involved in the discussion of labor practices in the nail salon industry following investigations stemming from a New York Times report alleging rampant wage theft in the industry and other worker abuse. He has worked with business owners in the the Korean Nail Association to organize the “Healthy Nail Salon Network” to institute immediate fixes and long-term solutions, and to bring increased awareness to the issue.
Cuomo has been active as well in the push for increased enforcement for fair labor practices in nail salon since the Times report. He has previously enacted a multi-agency task force to recover stolen wages and shut down the industry’s worst offenders, and has also created a new package of legislation to protect workers which would allow the Department of State to shut down any nail salon that is unlicensed.