New York has passed a new law giving the same anti-violence protections to healthcare workers already given to firefighters, emergency medical technicians and registered nurses.

The law, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, would expand the state's current workplace violence protection laws to cover healthcare workers with direct patient access, and classify any assault against those workers as assault in the second degree.

“Every day, thousands of workers provide outstanding service in nursing homes, healthcare centers, and long-term care facilities across our community,” said State Sen. Rich Funke (R-Perinton) in a press release. “Their work is important, the environment is challenging, and they deserve to know they are safe on the job.”

Funke cited a recent survey that found 25% of nursing home workers and 34% of nursing aides reported some form of workplace violence during their careers. A quarter of those workers said the assault resulted in them missing work.

The new law will go into effect on Jan. 1.