Albany, NY - May 20, 2015 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of a public education and outreach campaign that is designed to better protect nail salon workers from abuse and health risks. In partnership with community organizations and local officials, members of the Governor’s administration are holding multiple information sessions across the state that will help workers in the nail salon industry understand their rights and ensure that business owners live up to their responsibilities and obligations under the law. At the first such session, which was held today in New York City, participants received copies of a Workers’ Bill of Rights, fact sheets for employees which detailed how to obtain a license and information on career services; and fact sheets for employers which detailed how to start a nail salon, information on new regulations governing salons and information on how businesses can come into compliance with the law.
“By launching this campaign, we are spreading the word throughout the nail salon industry that workers’ rights must be respected,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will not tolerate business owners that exploit their employees or create unsafe working conditions, and I encourage anyone with knowledge of these kind of abuses to contact our Task Force Hotline. Together, we will ensure that all nail salon employees are treated fairly.”
This targeted campaign provides both workers and nail salon owners with information about the law, workers’ rights and licensing information. Officials from the state Departments of Labor, Health, State, Taxation and Finance, the Office for New Americans and the Workers Compensation Board are available on site to discuss relevant laws, regulations and services with the event’s attendees. Today’s information session in Manhattan was translated into Spanish, Chinese and Korean, and additional sessions in multiple languages will be announced across the state in the coming days.
Workers’ Bill of Rights
A Workers’ Bill of Rights – with copies available in Korean, Chinese, Spanish, English, Vietnamese, Nepali, Haitian Creole, Polish, Russian and Italian – was distributed at the first session held today in Manhattan, and will be available at all future information sessions. This document notifies every worker in plain language of their rights to a legal wage and safe working environment, and also contains a hotline where workers can ask questions and lodge complaints. Thanks to the new regulations enacted this week by Governor Cuomo, salon owners must post these in a place visible to all employees and to the public.
Fact Sheets for Employees
A fact sheet for salon workers was provided to attendees of the forum. The fact sheet provides information to assist workers in understanding their rights in the nail salon industry. Specifically, the fact sheet outlines how to obtain a license, and worker’s rights regarding the use of equipment, the posting of the bill of rights, insurance requirements and proper wages required under state law. The fact sheet also details all of the career services available to workers including career counseling, resume development, adult basic education including English as a second language, career workshops, self-service resources, training consultation and referrals to other community resources.
Fact Sheets for Employers
A fact sheet for salon owners was also provided to attendees of the forum. The fact sheet outlined, among other things, how to properly start a nail salon business and all of the legal and regulatory requirements that govern their operation. Specifically, the fact sheet explains the requirements for filing a license to operate a business and the obligations for employers in purchasing and using equipment, posting the bill of rights for workers, and obtaining liability insurance and bonding. The fact sheet also informs businesses how to come into compliance with the rules and regulations.
Review of Chemical Agents
In addition to the documents and information provided at the forum, attendees were reminded that at the Governor’s direction, the New York State Department of Health will conduct a review of chemical agents used in nail salons. The Department will consult with and review scientific information from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to understand the potential for adverse effects of chemicals used in nail salons and the levels of exposure that have been shown to occur.
Partnering with Community and Business Groups
In addition to officials in municipal governments, the state is working with a number of business, community, religious and non-profit partners to help educate nail salon owners and their employees and inform regulatory reform and enforcement efforts. The groups include:
- National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum
- National Council of Asian Pacific Americans
- National Employment Law Project
- Miliann Kang, author of The Managed Hand: Race, Gender and the Body in Beauty Service Work
- MinKwon Center for Community Action
- New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health
- New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
- Planned Parenthood of New York City
- Korean-American Nail Salon Association
- The New York Women's Chamber of Commerce
- Hispanic Cosmetology Beauty Chamber of Commerce
- Latino Justice PRLDEF
- Catholic Migration Services
The Governor launched the multi-agency Enforcement Task Force last work in order to crack down on the abuse of nail salon workers. Earlier this week, the Governor also introduced new legislation and enacted emergency regulations that are designed to protect workers from further labor and health violations by their employers.
Anyone with questions about nail salons, or who is concerned about proper wages and safe working conditions, should contact the Task Force Hotline at 1-888-469-7365.