New Nail Salon Pay Protections Depend on Workers for Success; Could Threaten Regulation’s Effectiveness
August 17, 2015
by Nia Hamm
NEW YORK – The October 6 deadline is fast approaching for nail salon owners in New York to secure wage bonds.
It’s part of a new law that Gov. Andrew Cuomo says should ensure fair pay and health protections for nail salon workers, mostly women who are Asian and Latino immigrants.
Steven Choi, executive director of the advocacy group New York Immigration Coalition, praises the new rule, but says fear of reprisal often makes these workers reluctant to assert their rights, which could threaten the regulation’s effectiveness.
“As somebody who has represented nail salon workers, even if you don’t have an immigration status issue, coming forward to assert your rights is a big step – and one that, quite frankly, a lot of people who are the victims of wage theft are not willing to do, because they think they’re going to be blacklisted from the industry,” he stresses.
Salon owners who don’t apply for wage bonds by the deadline face fines and other penalties, including losing their business license.
Another factor that will determine the law’s effectiveness is how well state officials educate both nail salon owners and employees about the changes.
Charlene Obernauer, executive director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, says that may require state regulators to adjust the law and its implementation to account for issues including language barriers.
“Of course, in a state like New York where nail salon workers speak so many different languages, you know – probably more so than many other industries – translation and interpretation is always going to need to be a priority, and is going to need to be highlighted,” she says.
PHOTO: Immigrant advocates say a rule meant to ensure wage protections for nail salon workers may only be effective if a significant number of salon employees are willing to speak up against abuses. Photo credit: Melt Design – Respiramos design/freeimages.com.
Disclaimer: News articles on this site may contain opinions of the author, and if opinion, may not necessarily reflect the views of the site itself or the views of the owners of NewsLI.com, Long Island Media Inc., or Long Island Exchange®. For more information on our editorial policies please view our terms of service.