Gonzalez Bill to Improve Working Conditions in Nail Salons Gets Committee Approval

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April 13, 2016 (SACRAMENTO)

Legislation by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to improve workplace conditions and labor law compliance in nail salons passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee today on a bipartisan 13-0 vote.

Assembly Bill 2025 would take several steps to educate nail salon owners on existing workplace laws in California. It would add a section to the existing licensure application process for owners to ensure and document knowledge of basic labor laws relevant to their establishments, improving voluntary compliance. It would also include workers’ rights as a subject area in the curriculum for licensed nail salon workers and require that written materials for salon workers and owners be available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

“Like many people across the country, I was shocked to learn about the exploitation and dangerous conditions faced by many nail salon workers across the country, and I’m committed to addressing this problem,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve seen that in many cases, language and cultural barriers in these largely-immigrant communities have allowed these violations to fester, and we’re invested in ensuring our existing systems provide sufficient resources and outreach to both salon workers and owners.”

There are over 52,600 establishments and almost 600,000 total workers, including over 312,000 cosmetologists and approximately 129,000 nail technicians, currently licensed through the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. The nail salon industry in California is predominately comprised of Vietnamese immigrants, a significant  number of whom have limited English proficiency.

A series of investigations by The New York Times over the past year into abusive practices in New York nail salons highlighted widespread compliance issues that led to workers being paid below minimum wage, exposed to dangerous working conditions, and other abusive practices. The findings were consistent with ongoing investigation and study of California’s salon workers. Subsequent hearings and analysis found that lack of education was a major factor in cases of non-compliance in California salons.

AB 2757 is coauthored by Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) and Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

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