A New York Times investigation into horrid conditions for New York City nail salon workers published last week has prompted swift action by the state’s governor.
In response to “The Price of Nails,” which revealed gross underpayment and physical abuse among manicurists, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered emergency measures and a task force to peform salon-by-salon inspections.
New rules will be instituted to protect manicurists from dangerous chemicals found in nail salon products, like requiring masks and gloves to prevent resultant skin conditions. There will also be a six-language education program to inform workers of their rights.
Nail salons that don’t follow orders to pay workers back wages will be shuttered, along with unlicensed salons.
“New York State has a long history of confronting wage theft and unfair labor practices head on, and today, with the formation of this new Enforcement Task Force, we are aggressively following in that tradition,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We will not stand idly by as workers are deprived of their hard-earned wages and robbed of their most basic rights.”
As part of the reforms, salons will have to post signs publicly informing workers of their rights and make clear it’s illegal to work for no wages, which the Times reports has been occurring across the industry. Salons will also have to be bonded, which will ensure underpaid salon workers get paid.