Civil Rights Agency Call for End to Below Minimum Wage Pay for People with Disabilities

September 17, 2020
Civil Rights Agency Call for End to Below Minimum Wage Pay for People with Disabilities

For Immediate Release
September 17, 2020

Contact: David Card
202.408.9514 x122
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC – A report, “Subminimum Wages: Impacts on the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities,” issued today by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) calls on Congress to repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a provision that permits employers to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage.

In response, NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker issued the following statement:

“The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) supports the recommendations outlined in the USCCR report. We join them in calling on Congress and the Trump Administration to immediately repeal this antiquated law.

“Sheltered workshops are not what they promise to be and have led to the financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect of many workers with disabilities.

“NDRN member agencies, the nation’s Protection and Advocacy and Client Assistance Programs, have been monitoring and investigating 14(c) employers and have represented many people with disabilities around the country who want an opportunity to work at a competitive wage, but unfortunately, have ended up in sheltered workshops earning dollars or even pennies by the hour.

“Many of their stories are told in two reports on the subminimum wage issued by NDRN called “Segregated and Exploited: A Call to Action” and “Beyond Segregated and Exploited.” Additionally, the work P&As and CAPs are doing to assist people with disabilities earning these poverty wages find integrated jobs at competitive wages was profiled in the documentary, Bottom Dollars.

“Sheltered workshops still exist because of self-interested employers and systematic neglect by federal agencies. The system is buttressed by outdated stereotypes of people with disabilities and the low expectations held by the general public, lawmakers, and, sadly, even some families and the disability rights community.

The truth is that people with disabilities can—and do—work in all areas of the American workforce. It is time to end the subminimum wage and sheltered employment. Now.”

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.