A year ago, as we were figuring out what HourVoice should be, Sarah Maslin Nir of the New York Times broke wide open the nail salon industry’s abusive labor practices. She found, after interviewing over 150 salon workers, widespread patterns of paying below minimum wage, working solely for tips, tips being stolen, and even physical abuse. We then realized that complaint-driven enforcement of labor laws was grossly inadequate, and that workers needed a safe, anonymous way to report their working conditions.
To his credit, New York’s Governor Cuomo launched a task force, and this one actually did something. In New York nail salons must pay $2M for cheating workers out of fair wages (Erin Durkin, NY Daily News), the task force “has ordered 143 salons to repay 652 workers who were paid less than minimum wage — currently $9 an hour — or illegally denied overtime…. The back pay and damages add up to $2 million.”
If you work in a nail salon in NY State, or if you’re a customer at a New York nail salon, please take a minute to review the important labor laws that protect these workers: Information for the Nail Salon Industry.
Similarly, if you work hourly, use HourVoice to track your time, rate your employer, and learn about your work rights.
If you don’t work hourly, you can still help. Tell that nice manicurist, store clerk or teacher’s assistant about HourVoice — you’ll be doing them a favor.