Last week, the California Division of Workers Compensation (DWC) announced their second proposed regulations for interpreters fees in workers comp maters. It’s crucial for all our colleagues to understand that regardless of the fees that are being suggested ($255/$448), the proposal gives interpreters and agencies the freedom to negotiate different rates.
§9936. Computation of Fees (d) states that “Nothing in this section precludes an agreement for payment of interpreter services, made between the interpreter or agency for interpreting services and the employer, regardless of whether or not such payment is less than, or exceeds, the fees set forth in this section and section 9937.”
However, we believe that the proposal also needs to specifically give interpreters and agencies the possibility of negotiating all terms and conditions (not just payment), such as the duration of half day/full day, which the DWC proposal sets at 3.5 hours and up to 8 hours respectively, something which differs from standard practice in several areas of California.
Another section of the proposal that should be reworded is found under §9930(a), which states that a certified interpreter for hearings and depositions is an individual listed as a certified interpreter for administrative hearings, medical examinations, or state court proceedings on the State Personnel Board website or is listed as a certified interpreter on the California Courts website.” The mention of interpreters certified for medical examinations in this section might be construed as them being allowed to interpret at hearings and depositions and needs to be clarified, since most likely this is not what the authors of this proposal intended.
In the next couple of months, AIJIC will reach out to the DWC and California elected officials in order to address all these concerns. For now, please email your comments to DWCForums@dir.ca.gov before the deadline this Friday, April 13, 2018, and request that they address the two points previously mentioned, namely:
1. §9936. Computation of Fees (d) needs to specifically give interpreters and agencies the possibility of negotiating all terms and conditions, not just payment, such as the duration of half day/full day, which the DWC proposal sets at 3.5 hours and up to 8 hours respectively, and which differs from standard practice in several areas of California.
2. §9930(a) (Definitions, “Certified interpreter for hearings and depositions”) needs to specify that only interpreters listed on the State Personnel Board website or on the California Courts website are allowed to interpret at administrative hearings and depositions.
Please join us in being proactive. If interpreters do not voice their concerns on matters that deeply affect our profession, nobody else will.
We will keep you posted on further updates.