Coalition Members Raise Concerns About Salon Owners Who Skirt Regulations by Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors
New York, NY— The New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition welcomed Governor Cuomo’s announcement regarding enforcement of wage bond requirements and the compliance deadline of October 6th for nail salon owners. Nail salon owners will be required by the State to secure a wage bond within the next 60 days or they will face newly enacted fines and penalties, which could include the closure of their business for non-compliance. The Coalition also praised the ramp up of nail salon trainee registration, which will help protect workers and improve salon safety and health.
The Coalition stated fears that salon owners may skirt new regulations by moving to misclassify more workers as independent contractors.
Employers misclassify workers so that they don’t have to pay minimum wage and overtime, social security benefits, unemployment and worker compensation insurance, and provide other protections for workers. If a salon owner sets a worker’s schedule, the worker does not rent their workspace, the owner sets the rates paid by customers, and the worker uses the salon owner’s tools and equipment, the worker is likely to be considered an employee, not an independent contractor. To curb this illegal practice of misclassifying employees as independent contractors, the Coalition will continue to inform members of their rights, the DOL hotline, and the available recourseChoose from the most used tags in cases of worker exploitation.
The Coalition stated optimism about moving forward to engage with businesses that are interested in modeling healthy salons that prioritize the well-being of workers – from compliance with wage regulations to ensuring complete safety and health in the workplace.
“Moving forward a healthy business program that highlights salons that are doing things right—and are going above and beyond the standard, is a critical next step as we seek to transform the industry,” said Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director of NYCOSH and co-founder of the NYHNSC.
“In the past when workers have spoken up against wage theft and pursued legal action, they have not been able to collect the money owed to them because the salon owners claim that they do not have the resources to pay,” said Luna Ranjit, Executive Director of Adhikaar and co-founder of the NYHNSC. “The wage bond will ensure that the salon owners cannot use that excuse, and hopefully will deter them from stealing wages to begin with. The newly created trainee license also ensures that all nail salon workers can work without fear.”
“The bond requirement is a step forward to holding accountable employers who are caught breaking their promises to workers,” said Julie Kelly, General Manager and Vice President of Workers United NY NJ Regional Joint Board. “In addition to the important stop gap this provides, we urge action to ensure that workers are not misclassified as independent contractors when they are in fact entitled to legal labor protections.”
“The bond is an important way to ensure that salon workers whose wages are stolen will be able to recover some measure of what they are owed,” said Rachel Spector, Staff Attorney with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “Hopefully it will also serve to discourage wage theft and help raise labor standards in the industry.”
The New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition formed in 2014 to ensure that all nail salon workers are justly compensated and able to work in safe and healthy environments. Members of the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition include: Adhikaar, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Employment Law Project, New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Planned Parenthood of New York City, and Workers United New York/New Jersey Joint Board (SEIU).