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Wages and Hours Law

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains the federal requirements on the payment of wages, and on overtime hours and pay, for which most employers must adhere. Many states and some municipalities also have legal provisions which go beyond the federal requirements, including a higher minimum wage.

Federal and State Wage Law

Fair Labor Standards Act Statute: [PDF]

The U.S. Department of Labor website has many resources related to wage issues, including the Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration of DOL enforces compliance with the minimum wage laws.

Minimum Wage

Federal Statute: 29 U.S.C. § 206

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Certain workers may be paid less than the minimum wage under certain circumstances.

Many states also have minimum wage laws that may be higher than the federal minimum wage. The DOL has a map showing the state minimum wage laws. If the state minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, an employee is entitled to the higher state minimum wage. The U.S. Department of Labor website has an extensive list of resources on the minimum wage.

Special (Sub) Minimum Wage

Federal Statute: 29 U.S.C. § 214(c)

Federal Regulations :  29 C.F.R. Part 525

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for the employment of certain individuals at wage rates below the minimum wage. Under section 14(c) individuals whose earnings or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability for the work to be performed, including those related to age or injury may be paid less than the federal minimum wage.

Certificates issued by the Wage & Hour Division of the Department of Labor to the employer are required for the employer to pay the special minimum wage. The U.S. Department of Labor Website has an extensive list of resources on the subminimum wage, and most importantly a list of the employers who have section 14(c) wage certificates.

The Department of Labor has two fact sheets on the section 14(c) special minimum wage programs, along with a notice poster for employees paid under section 14(c):

Face Sheet #39: The Employment of Individuals With Disabilities Under    Special Minimum Wage – Discussing requirements under section 14(c).

Fact Sheet #39f: The Payment of Special Minimum Wages to Workers with Disabilities Who Are Employed on Federal Service Contracts Subject to the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act – Discussing requirements under federal service contracts.

Employee Rights for Workers with Disabilities Paid at Special Minimum Wages Poster - DOL notice that must be either posted or provided to all employees subject to a §14(c) wage certificate.   29 C.F.R.§ 525.14. 

Other available resources include:

Government Reports on Special Minimum Wage

Enforcement of Wage and Hour Laws

There are different ways to seek enforcement of wage and hours laws including filing a complaint in federal or state court or through a federal or state administrative agency.  Below are links to regional DOL offices and state labor/employment/workforce agencies:

U.S. Dept. of Labor District Offices

State Labor or Employment Agencies

Training [P&A/CAP Advocates Only]

For a short training providing an overview of the FLSA and Section 14(c), view the following webcast developed by David T. Hutt and Kenneth Shiotani at that National Disability Rights Network:

FLSA and Section 14(c)  (38 min.)
[Windows Media or Adobe]
Transcript: [Word] and [PDF]
(Please ignore confirmation code mentioned in the webcast unless you are participating in the representative payee review program.)

Video Highlight




Learn about the laws that exist to protect people with disabilities in the workplace.


Segregated and Exploited arrow

Read NDRN's reports on segregated employment and the practice of paying people with disabilities less than the minimum wage.