• Home
  • News
  • Business
  • In New York: Bills addressing retail safety and model protection receive Senate approval

In New York: Bills addressing retail safety and model protection receive Senate approval

By Rachel Douglass


Scroll down to read more


Model Alliance protest at NYFW SS24. Credits: Model Alliance.

Two bills aimed at safeguarding workers in the fashion industry and beyond have received Senate approval in New York, seeing them – finally – be passed on to the state’s governor to be, potentially, signed into law.

The Retail Worker Safety Act, introduced in early 2024, and the Fashion Workers Act, which has been waiting for approval for three years now, have passed into the hands of New York’s governor Kathy Hochul, bringing them one step closer to being implemented into the state’s laws. Both of the bills address key issues in New York’s fashion system, each hoping to enforce a safer industry for both retail workers and models.

The Retail Worker Safety Act, for example, would require corporate retail employers to adopt violence prevention plans, either their own or one developed by the NYS Department of Labor, focused on training workers to de-escalate active shooter situations. Large employers of 500 staff and over will also be made to install panic buttons throughout the workplace to ensure a safe method of calling for help.

‘Employers can and should do more to protect their employees…’

The introduction of the act came as a response to the concerning uptick in retail violence seen across New York in recent years, as highlighted by a series of interviews carried out by those backing the bill, including president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Stuart Appelbaum, who said “employers can and should do more to protect their employees” in light of “troubling” stories from workers all over the state.

A similar sense of urgency was felt among those supporting the Fashion Workers Act, a bill that called for the protection and safety of models and content creators in New York, yet still faced an uphill battle to pass the senate. In particular, the bill, upheld by the Model Alliance, looks to tackle “predatory management agencies that currently operate without oversight” while requiring modelling agencies to pay their employees within 45 days of completing a job, among other things.

Speaking on the Fashion Workers Act in a release, senator and co-sponsor of both aforementioned acts, Brad Hoylman-Sigal, said that while New York was known for its fashion, models “often have the least leverage” in the industry. He added that he was “proud” to carry the act, to “finally ensure that fashion’s modelling and creative workforce has as much labour support as any other worker” while closing “the legal loophole by which management companies in the fashion industry escape accountability”.

In a statement on social media, Model Alliance founder and executive director, Sara Ziff, celebrated the bill’s passing and urged Hochul to sign it into law immediately, adding: “New York – one of the fashion capitals of the world – has said unequivocally that the status quo is unacceptable. It is a major victory for our workforce of overwhelmingly young women and girls, and we are deeply grateful to our bill sponsors senator Brad Holyman-Sigal and assembly member Karines Reyes for their unwavering support.”

Read more:
Model Alliance
New York
Workers Rights