Executive Order 26: Language Access
On October 6, 2011, Governor Cuomo responded to the need for statewide language access by signing Executive Order 26, “Language Access Rights and Communication Needs.” Designed to assist individuals with a limited ability to read, speak, write and/or understand English, and/or whose primary language is not English, the Order directs New York State agencies to:
- translate vital documents2 into the six most common non-English languages3 spoken by individuals with limited-English proficiency in New York State;
- provide interpreting services for individuals in their primary language with respect to the provision of services or benefits;
- publish a language access plan reflecting how the agency will comply with the Order.
Given that 18,241,464 New Yorkers currently have limited-English proficiency, language barriers pose a significant threat to the health, safety, and economic prosperity of millions statewide. Executive Order 26 will increase access to State programs and services that can be both life-enhancing and, in many cases, lifesaving.
In an effort to ensure that language access services are implemented in a consistent, cost-effective manner, the Order requires that each Executive level agency identify a coordinator to monitor compliance, with oversight and support from the Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights. In addition, the Order, which took effect on October 5, 2012, requires all agencies to update their plans every two years.
For more information about Language Access, visit Department of Labor’s website.