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New York Lawmakers Aim to Tighten Regulations on Nail Salons

Lauren Quick | June 23, 2015 | 7:53 AM
Photo By Lwp Kommunikáció - Flickr: Extreme White Gel 2. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

After the appalling New York Times exposé on the state of nail salons in the U.S. (but especially in New York, which has the most nail salons per capita in metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to the Times), New York lawmakers have honed in on reforming regulations and restrictions for suspect salons.

The initial report cracked open the world of wallet-friendly mani/pedi deals and what the low, low prices meant for the men and women carefully filing away at nails day in and day out.

The manicurists were frequently subjected to 10- and 12-hour shifts wherein they paid their employer for the job for the first few months instead of the other way around, according to the Times. Workers were often paid only after their boss decides that their acquired skills are worth a wage, and even then wages were absurdly low—for one woman the Times profiled, she was paid a mere $30 a day.

Many people in and out of the industry were understandably shocked by the article and the conditions, trials and tribulations manicurists were enduring. New York Legislature leaders took action and agreed on a law on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, that will increase regulations for the many New York nail salons.

The law, pending approval from the Assembly and the Senate, outlines many new rules, not the least of which would make running an unlicensed salon a criminal offense "punishable by a fine or even imprisonment," according to the Times. The maximum sentence would be six months and jail and the maximum fine $2,500, and The New York Department could shut down unlicensed businesses.

This move to cut back on the exploitation of mostly immigrant workers in the industry was prompted by the original article but also by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has expressed his distaste with the way workers are treated by employers.

Read details of the proposed law in its entirety here.

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