Nail salons in New York are bracing for a new law that will require all salons to be bonded by October 6, 2015. Meanwhile, state board inspectors in Connecticut conducted a blitz of inspections this month, resulting in a significant number of closures for noncompliance.

According to Governor Cuomo’s website, salon owners must hold wage bonds as liability insurance against any unpaid wages or benefits to their employees. The amount of coverage depends on the number of nail techs who are employed by the salon. Failure to comply will result in fines and/or business closure. Officials content that the wage bond will protect workers in case a salon owner decides to shut down and open up somewhere else in lieu of paying fair back wages.

“Governor Cuomo’s deadline gives owners less than 8 weeks to post a wage bond for an amount based on hours and employees,” says Amber Fehrenbacher, content director at Surety Bonds. Fehrenbacher recommends acting immediately and begin researching bond options now because it takes time to find the best rate and an underwriter who is willing to write the policy for you. More information for New York salons can be found on Surety Bond’s website.

Since May, the state’s Nail Salon Industry Enforcement Task Force has inspected 755 salons and issued 1,799 violations. Other “low-wage” industries are being targeted in addition to nail salons, including domestic work, restaurants, retail, farming, construction, and car washes.

Sparked by the nail salon inspections and new legislation in New York, Connecticut’s state board conducted a large-scale salon inspection of its own. Twenty-five Connecticut-based nail salons were inspected in early August; 23 were found in violation of minimum wage laws and were shut down for one day. One salon owner paid nail techs $5.00 an hour, expecting the tips to reach minimum wage, which is $9.15. But nail salons still must abide by minimum wage laws regardless of tips.

Paul Dykstra, CEO of Cosmetologists Chicago and the International Nail Technicians Association, advises nail technicians and salon owners to abide by all state and local regulations, maintain a fair work environment, and maintain professional practices in their place of business. “The nail industry and specifically the profession of nail technician is an honorable one that provides a good income and career opportunities to so many, many individuals around the world,” Dykstra says. “ We must all work together to ensure we maintain professionalism in every way.”

Stay up to date on the latest in salon legislation by reading these articles:

Improving Our Industry: Lessons From the New York Nail Salon Scrutiny

Nail Salon Industry Statistics and Resources

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