A month after the “Unvarnished” series from the New York Times exposed illegal operations behind the scenes of nail salons and the exploitation of their immigrant workers, The New York State Assembly passed legislation that will help protect salon employees from unsafe working conditions while also making sure they receive fair wages.

The bill, which was passed through a unanimous agreement, will allow easier access for obtaining proper licenses. Costs of exams will be lowered and an unlicensed worker will be able to register as a “trainee” so they can legally get paid as an apprentice while preparing for their exam. According to Huffington Post, salons will be regulated through the Nail Salon Industry Task Force. New rules to ensure safer work environments will also be implemented, such as air ventilation regulation and safety training on infection control and sanitation practices.

Via the Governor’s website:

“With this agreement, we are sending a message that exploitation in the workplace will not be tolerated in the State of New York,” said Governor Cuomo. “This legislation allows the State to crack down on bad actors in the nail salon industry and hold them accountable. It also streamlines the licensing process for workers so they can get the training they need to move forward professionally without being held hostage to their employers. Our actions will make the nail salon industry safer and fairer, and I am proud that New York is standing up to protect workers who cannot protect themselves.”

Violations of the new law will be seen as a misdemeanor offense and can also result in a shut down. The legislation comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo had issued an emergency order for salons to be investigated shortly after the exposé was published.

Image via Getty.


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