Senate Passes Venditto Legislation to Protect Nail Salon Workers and Consumers

Michael Venditto

June 17, 2015

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S5966), sponsored by Senator Michael Venditto (R-C-I, Massapequa), that would foster a safe and healthy environment for both nail salon workers and consumers. This bill provides the necessary tools to close down unlicensed or uninsured nail salon activities, creates a formalized trainee program for those employed in nail salons, and requires nail salon owners to provide health and safety protections for their employees.

Senator Venditto, Chair of the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection, said, “This legislation strikes the right balance by protecting the employees of nail salons from exploitation as well as our consumers. It requires the registration of a new class of employees who are going to be called nail specialty trainees. By giving employees the proper training and protecting them from unsafe working conditions we can in turn give our consumers peace of mind.”

Significant concerns voiced by nail salon employees and advocates, and a recent investigation by the New York Times detailed the harsh working conditions of some nail salon workers. These nail salon employees endure unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices, including inadequate ventilation, wage theft, and a lack of personal protective equipment, workers’ compensation insurance coverage, or business liability insurance.

To protect nail salon employees and patrons from unscrupulous practices, this measure would give the state the authority to shut down nail salons that do not comply with enacted state regulations. Nail salon workers would also be given new opportunities to master their trade and affordably obtain their working licenses by registering with the state as a “trainee.” This training program would give employees the ability to continue their career path while getting paid to learn about the position and the sanitary measures that protect consumers.

The Senate today also passed legislation (S1982A), sponsored by Senator Catharine Young (R-C-I, Olean), that would require the state Department of Health to review the safety of ultraviolet (UV) nail dryers and would authorize the state to regulate the use of these devices. A recent article in JAMA Dermatology found UV lamps to be a contributing factor for two women who developed skin cancer on their hands – stemming from use of these lamps in nail salons.

The bills have been sent to the Assembly.

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