Thursday, May 6, 2010

Call for Phase Out of Subminimum Wage

Since establishment of the Federal minimum wage in 1938, a special minimum wage generally known as the “subminimum wage” has existed for individuals with disabilities. This provision allows employers, holding a 14(c) certificate from the US Department of Labor (DOL), to pay individuals with disabilities less than the federal or state minimum wage that is generally mandated for all other workers. Pay is related to the individual’s level of productivity, with the intent of paying individuals in proportion or commensurate to their productivity compared to workers without disabilities.

Currently there are approximately 5,600 employers who hold 14(c) certificates, employing approximately 425,000 individuals with disabilities at workshops and in group employment settings. Approximately 95% of these individuals are employed in sheltered workshops. Approximately ¾ of all workers receiving subminimum wages in sheltered workshops have an intellectual or developmental disability. More than half (54%) of workers in sheltered workshops earn less than $2.50 per hour, with 23% earning less than $1.00 per hour.

AtWork! supports the national movement calling for a phase out of this special subminimum wage provision. It should occur over time. No other minority group experiences this kind of discrimination. It needs to be gradual so that people aren’t harmed and alternative employment options can be developed or the businesses that employ them at subminimum and so they can figure out how to keep them working at minimum wage.

posted by AtWork! at


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home