Queens, NY – Today, Assemblymember Nily Rozic (D-Queens) and Senator Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) announced the passage of their legislation (A5609/S6069). The legislation addresses the language access needs of workers with limited English proficiency, specifically focusing on cases involving worker injury. The bill aligns the language access standards within the workers’ compensation law with those determined in the executive law. The bill passed both houses of the legislature with bipartisan support.
“In a state as diverse as New York, it is crucial that the needs of all employees, regardless of their English proficiency, are served. These workers often work physically taxing jobs that pose injury risks,” said Assemblymember Rozic. “By ensuring consistency across agencies, we are providing transparency and easier access to workers’ compensation benefits to the many employees across the state whose first language is not English.”
“Support that the State is able to offer is only valuable if people know about it. AM Rozic and I represent some of the diverse zip codes in the entire country, and we know that policy is only as good as its implementation. I’m proud that the legislature was able to expand language access in this way and look forward to this bill moving to the Governor’s desk,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos.
“As immigrant workers continue to be amongst the most vulnerable to workplace hazards, language accessibility must always be a top priority for policymakers," Asian American Federation Executive Director, Jo-Ann Yoo, said. "We are grateful to Assembly Member Rozic and Senator Ramos for demonstrating their concern for our most susceptible populations and emphasizing the need for clear, consistent, and impactful regulations that address language access. Our immigrant workers, the drivers of our state's economy, deserve nothing less.”
“The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) applaud the State Assembly and Senate for passing Assembly Member Rozic and Senator Ramos' bill A5609/S609 that will help ensure Limited English Proficient (LEP) injured workers are provided necessary language access services in order to receive their Workers' Compensation benefits,” said Vanessa Leung and Anita Gundanna, Co-Directors of CACF. “Language barriers are a huge obstacle faced by many folks in immigrant communities and can prevent them from accessing essential services. Workers Compensation is a critical program for the wellbeing of injured workers and this bill helps ensure that LEP injured workers receive the benefits they are entitled to. Proper language access is necessary to achieve health equity and this bill is an important step towards a more equitable health care system.”
“It is critically important that immigrant and low-income workers – often supporting their families by performing the most dangerous tasks in the workplace – have equitable access to workers’ compensation,” said Thomas Yu, Executive Director of Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE). “We are grateful to Assemblymember Rozic and Senator Ramos for their leadership on this issue, defending the rights of community members with limited English proficiency.”
This legislation builds on a similar bill previously passed by Assemblymember Rozic and Senator Ramos requiring the workers' compensation board to provide translations of certain documents and forms.