Civil Rights Commission Calls for End to Subminimum Wage Program
On Thursday, the U.S Commission on Civil Rights issued a report on an exemption under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows employers to pay certain individuals with disabilities at a rate below the federal minimum wage.
The program was designed and created as a pathway to employment for individuals with disabilities. However, the Commission found that the rule is antiquated, federal oversight is lacking, subminimum wage employees are often segregated from employees without disabilities, and that the program limits individuals with disabilities from reaching their full potential.
The report notes, “Increased integration of people with disabilities into the workplace and society is now legally required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and legal precedent, and is facilitated by technological advancements. These developments obviate any need for subminimum wage work.”
Thus, the Commission calls for an end to the program, in a phased-out fashion that would enable a transition for employers and employees to “alternative service models prioritizing competitive integrated employment.” It calls on the federal government to reimagine and improve possibilities for successful employment for individuals with disabilities.