According to the New York Times, workers at nail salons face low pay - as low as $30 per day for 10-hour shifts - no pay or are forced to pay salon owners a fee to work in the salons. One worker cited by The Times paid $100 per day for her first two weeks on the job, during which she worked more than 10 hours a day. Some salons did not keep proper payroll records, making it difficult for investigators to determine the extent of wage violations, and some owners allegedly retaliated against employees who spoke out.
In 2015, Governor Cuomo announced a variety of actions to combat wage theft and other violations in the nail salon industry. Among those actions was a task force designed to enforce labor laws and recover wages stolen from workers. Governor Cuomo also announced training programs to ensure nail salon workers were aware of their rights, and protections to ensure workers were offered protective equipment to lessen the risk of illness from chemical exposure.
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Many of the workers in New York City’s nail salons are reportedly vulnerable workers from Asia and Latin America, and some salon owners allegedly exploit that vulnerability by seizing tips, denying breaks and forcing new employees to pay them.