Information for Nail Salon Owners

Information for Nail Salon Owners



In May 2015, then Governor Cuomo announced a multi-pronged effort to reform the nail salon industry in New York State by correcting and preventing unlawful practices and unsafe working conditions. A multi-agency Task Force was assembled consisting of representatives from the Department of Labor, Department of State, and Department of Health to implement the reforms which include a comprehensive package of legislation and new emergency regulations, administrative changes, and an outreach campaign to educate workers, businesses and the public. The information below will help you understand your responsibilities as a business in the nail salon industry. If you have any questions, contact the Task Force Hotline at: 888-469-7365.

To learn more about appearance enhancement establishments in New York State and to download necessary forms, visit the Department of State's website.

How to Start a Nail Salon

How to Start a Nail Salon

You must be at least 18 years old to obtain a business license. There is no minimum education or exam required. Businesses are required to obtain insurance or a bond and submit a completed application with fee ($60) to the Department of State Division of Licensing Services. The license application will soon be clarified to highlight for all applicants what is and is not legally required to obtain a license. Additional requirements to starting a business can be found online.

New Regulations

New Regulations

Equipment Requirements

As of June 15, 2015, you must maintain the following equipment at each workstation and provide it to workers, upon request, and at no cost:

  • A properly fitted N-95 or N-100 respirator, approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, for each individual who uses the workstation. All workers must have access to and be allowed to use these respirators when buffing or filing nails or when using acrylic powder.
  • Protective gloves made of nitrile, or another similar non-permeable material for workers with a sensitivity to nitrile gloves. You must have a sufficient number of gloves available so that each nail technician has access to and is allowed to use a new pair of gloves for each customer. All workers must wear gloves when handling potentially hazardous chemicals or waste and during cleanup, or when performing any nail service that has a risk of breaking the customer’s skin.
  • Protective eye equipment. All workers must have access to and be allowed to wear eye protection when preparing, transferring or pouring potentially hazardous chemicals.

A list of potentially hazardous chemicals commonly found in nail salons can be accessed here.

Posting Requirements

You will be required to post a “Bill of Rights” in a place where it is easily visible to workers and the customers. As soon as it is available, the sign will be mailed to you and will be posted at all Department of State offices and online free of charge.

Ventilation Requirements

New requirements are being developed to ensure that salons and work stations are properly ventilated. Additional information will be provided once these requirements have been developed.

Notices of Violation

If you are served with a Notice of Violation pertaining to unlicensed activity, you must immediately post a copy. The Notice must be posted in the front window, on the front door or on the outside wall of your business. It must be within five feet of the front door, at a vertical height of at least four to six feet from the ground or floor. The Notice of Violation may not be removed except when authorized by the Department of State.

Bond or Liability Insurance

Recently signed legislation includes enhanced fines and penalties for salon owners who fail to comply with new wage bond requirements. In accordance with the law’s provisions, the Department of State will enforce these penalties as of October 6, 2015, the 60th day following issuance of a letter by the Department of Financial Services certifying the ready availability of the bond.

You must maintain liability coverage in the following amounts:

  • Accident and professional liability insurance of at least $25,000 per individual occurrence and $75,000 in the aggregate
  • Wages legally due to employees who provide nail specialty services of:
    • At least $25,000 if you employ the equivalent of two to five full-time individuals who perform nail specialty services
    • At least $40,000 if you employ the equivalent of six to ten full-time individuals who perform nail specialty services
    • At least $75,000 if you employ the equivalent of 11 to 25 full-time individuals who perform nail specialty services
    • At least $125,000 if you employ the equivalent of 26 or more full-time individuals who perform nail specialty services.

The liability coverage may be obtained by purchasing:

  • A bond in favor of the people of the State of New York
  • Accidental and professional liability or general liability insurance, or
  • A combination of the previous options provided that the coverage amounts are satisfied.

Evidence of sufficient liability coverage of the wage bond must be maintained by nail salon owners and made accessible to all workers at all times that the business is open. All nail salon owners should review the circumstances under which a wage bond is required. Owners who believe they are required to obtain a wage bond may print out a copy of the Department of State's approved wage bond here and take the form to their current insurance agent.

In the event that the owner's insurance agent is unable to assist with the purchase of the bond, the owner is advised to seek the assistance of an agent experienced in surety bonds. A list of surety bond professionals, organized by area, can be obtained by visiting the website of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers at In addition, a list of agents and brokers selling wage bonds is listed on the Department of Financial Services web site,

Wage Bond Calculator

Calculate the amount of wage coverage needed for your salon.

How to Come into Compliance

How to Come into Compliance

If you are cited for a violation, the investigator will explain any violations you may not understand. He or she will also explain what you need to do to cure the violation. If you do not speak English, an interpreter will help you understand the investigator. By proactively contacting the Task Force Hotline at 888-469-7365, we can help your business become compliant and avoid violations.

Proper Wages

Proper Wages

You must pay your workers for every hour they work. Their pay must include overtime (more than 40 hours) as calculated each week.

You must pay these hourly wages:

LocationFirst 40 hours per week, at leastAfter 40 hours per week, at least
Long Island and Westchester County$16.00/hour$24.00/hour
Remainder of New York State$15.00/hour$22.00/hour

Please note: the numbers above are minimums. If, for instance, a worker is paid at a higher hourly rate than $15.00 (Remainder of NYS), their overtime is calculated at 1.5 times that higher rate.

IMPORTANT: You should never take tips or wages from a worker or pay them less than minimum wage. Workers should never pay to apply for a position, to get a job, for training, as punishment, for breakage or any other reason.

No-Cost Business Services

No-Cost Business Services

New York State helps businesses be compliant with laws and regulations and offers a number of no-cost services that can save your business time and money. With assistance available in multiple languages, our staff members can help ensure you are compliant with:

  • Workers’ compensation, disability and liability insurance
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Industry licensure and certification requirements
  • Mandatory posters required to be displayed within your industry
  • Department of State, Tax and Finance and other documentation requirements
  • Safety and Health Laws
    • The on-site consultation program provides free safety and health inspections to point out violations so businesses can correct problems and avoid penalties.
    • We can also help you understand and comply with applicable worker protections and regulations including state uniform, sanitary, industrial and mechanical codes.

Business Intelligence

Economists at the State Department of Labor provide data on your area’s labor market, wages and occupations, which can help your business succeed.

Job Posting and Customized Recruitment Assistance

Post your jobs on Jobs Express ( and the New York State Job Bank ( for free. You can post jobs directly, have business services staff assist or use our indexing feature to copy openings direct from your own web site.

Find Qualified Workers

New York State’s customized recruitment assistance can help you find qualified workers. Give us the job description, skills and abilities desired and we’ll find you the best candidates possible. Hiring events can be held at our facilities at no cost or at your place of business. This gives you the opportunity to meet qualified candidates face-to-face.

Human Resources Services

Need help with Human Resources? We can help you develop and implement an effective hiring process tailored to your industry. Services include:

  • Review/write your job descriptions and employee handbooks
  • Develop performance evaluations and personnel policies
  • Create orientation sessions for new workers
  • Refine job interview techniques for efficiency and compliance
  • Analyze employee turnover
  • Explain labor laws to help you comply with wage/hour and safety/health regulations