New Bill in Congress to End Subminimum Wage

The article further states, “A bill recently introduced in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives would put an end to what’s known as subminimum wage.  Under a law dating back to the 1930s, employers can obtain 14(c) certificates from the Department of Labor allowing them to pay people with disabilities less than the federal minimum, currently $7.25 per hour. Workers who are paid at a lower rate are supposed to be compensated based upon their productivity level compared to that of someone without a disability.”

“There has been a push in recent years to outlaw subminimum wage, with critics saying that the system is exploitative and leaves some people with disabilities earning just pennies per hour. On the flip side, however, there are families and advocates who say that the wage system still plays an important role, particularly for those with severe disabilities who benefit from having a sense of purpose in an environment where they are surrounded by peers.”

“The new bill called the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, or S. 260, would require the Labor Department to stop issuing 14(c) certificates. Existing certificates would be phased out over a six-year period. In addition, the measure would make available grants and establish a technical assistance center to help businesses that currently pay subminimum wage transition toward a business model employing people with disabilities in a competitive, integrated fashion.”