MOSES LAKE – A bill that aims to “level the playing field” between competitors in the salon industry is doing the opposite, according to several local shop owners. Spearheaded by Democratic Sen. Karen Kaiser of Kent, the bill initially prohibited salon owners from renting out booth spaces to independently contracted stylists. As a result, the law would have forced owners to make commission off of stylist sales mandating them to pay B&O tax, unemployment benefits and industrial benefits.
After a massive public outcry and a successful petition, language in bill to ban booth renters was removed but the additional regulations deemed burdensome to business owners remains, says Salon Envy Owner Heather Bepple Kerekff.
“The bill would do a lot of harm to the salon industry itself. It may not be putting salon owners out of work but they themselves would no longer be able to do hair, like myself, I would not be able to work anymore,” she said.
But proponents argue that booth renters should be afforded the same benefits as a regular employees should any unforeseen circumstances occur. But Kerekffy says that’s the beauty of being an independent contractor.
“As my salon sits, everybody here is a sole proprietor. They are their own boss,” she said. “They make their own appointments, set their own wages, it is their job and responsibility to provide for themselves. The girl that’s working on color today, she needs to do this because she needs to be able to do everything for her kid and had she gone to a commission-based salon, that income is less and there are more rules. She needs to do what she needs to do and be a mom.”
Kerekffy says the stylists at her salon are against the bill.
So far, the bill has only made it to committee. The bill will be reviewed on Monday during the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee at 10 a.m.